SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel wins WTCC Independents Trophy 2006 With a 14 position overall and a third place in the privateer class Tom Coronel clinched the FIA WTCC Yokohama Independents Trophy 2006, the championship for drivers and...
SEAT Team Holland driver Tom Coronel wins WTCC Independents Trophy 2006
With a 14 position overall and a third place in the privateer class Tom Coronel clinched the FIA WTCC Yokohama Independents Trophy 2006, the championship for drivers and teams without works backing. The SEAT Team Holland driver was quick all through the weekend and took fifth place in qualifying for the first race of the day. In the second race Tom further increased his lead in the Independents trophy by finishing 13th overall and second in his class. Tom's good results of this year, combined with the efforts of his teammate Mauricio Ceresoli also brought the Yokohama Independents Trophy for teams to GR Asia, the team of Paul Ridgeway that prepares the cars for Coronel and Ceresoli. The FIA World Touring Car Championship will have it's Grande Finale down at Macau. The spectacular track will be the scene of the conclusion of the overall championship where not less than 14 drivers still have at least a mathematical chance on the title. SEAT Team Holland and Tom Coronel will also be there to battle for the overall honours. They will also collect the winners trophy for the Yokohama Independents Trophy there.
The first race ran over 15 laps and had a hectic start. Tom Coronel managed to escape without any dammage, but this also cost him a few positions in the race. He dropped back to eighth. After some laps behind the safety car Coronel concentrated on keeping his position in the Independents class. At that stage only Luca Rangoni was ahead of the Dutchman, but the Italian BMW driver was no threath for Coronel in the battle for the title. As second placed independent Ryan Sharp was absent this race the only man that Tom had to keep an eye on was Stefano d'Aste. However the Italian was further down the field. From the ninth lap on the Dutchman in his Orange and Black SEAT Leon started to drop down more and more. He even lost a part of his front spoiler. Despite that Tom finished the race in 14th place overall and 3rd in his class. This was more than enough to clinch the Independents title. Afterwards Coronel said: "In qualifying and during the warmup the car was constant and quick, but in the race the pace was not there.I suffered a lot from understeer and I started to loose ground. I also tried to keep out of trouble in order to get a safe finish. This worked for much of the race, but towards the end I got some damage on the front. Fortunately I was able to bring the car home and get the points.
The early laps of the second race were also quite hectic. Fortunately everybody was able to rejoin the race. There were even no retirements in the first 13 laps of the race. Duncan Huisman led the field, while Tom Coronel was down in 16th place. The pressure for the independents points was off and I wanted to do what I really wanted to do the whole year, fight as hard as I can for the lead of the race. I had a good start, but soon I noticed that there was still too much understeer in the car. As in the first race I was not able to keep up with the rest of the field, so 13th was all I could do today. However the most important thing is that we clinched the championship today. I managed to win the Independents trophy earlier, but that was a European title, now I also have a World title. Anyhow it is a great relieve to have the championship in my pocket before Macau. I learned the hard way that it is difficult to score the points you need there. It is like a casino with the tricky obstacles at or near the track that you encounter there. Now I can go out there without the pressure and I am free to race for positions there. So that will my next goal getting a reward for all the people that helped me to get this world title", Tom Coronel conluded.
Xeno Grimmelt, General Manager of SEAT-importer Pon Car was extremely satisfied with the World title of Tom Coronel. This is the reward for the hard work of a lot of people this year. As an ambassador of our sportive brand Tom Coronel realised our goals for this year. Besides that there was a great cooperation between SEAT Nederland, SEAT Sport that coordinates all works motorsport efforts and the GR Asia team of Paul Ridgway. Each weekend they prepared a fantastic car for us. On top of that they were a great host for our relations that visited the races. Equally important were the Dutch SEAT dealers that shared the competition with us. Most of them visited one of the races and on all occasions they were impressed by the battle between the different manufacturers in this championship. World Champion! This performance firmly underlines the sporting image that SEAT wants to show."