Tom Coronel keeps Independents Trophy in sight The over 4 kilometers long track of Valencia in Spain hosted the penultimate round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. At the relatively tight and twisty track the WTCC SEAT's were in a class...
Tom Coronel keeps Independents Trophy in sight
The over 4 kilometers long track of Valencia in Spain hosted the penultimate round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. At the relatively tight and twisty track the WTCC SEAT's were in a class of their own. This resulted in a All SEAT front row with works drivers Jordi Gene and Peter Terting in their brand new Leons. Tom Coronel managed to qualify his GR-Asia prepared SEAT Toledo in 11th place. However the SEAT Team Holland driver was demoted to 21th place after his engine change after the previous round at Istanbul. Coronel did not make it to the finish after a collision. In the second race Coronel worked his way up to 13th place which keeps him still in contention for the Michelin Independents Trophy.
"Things were looking quite well", Tom Coronel said. "Both in free practice and in qualifying we were well on the pace. For the first time I used the 16 valve engine. Before that we used the 20 valve engine and which does not have as much torque. Torque is the main thing you need to accelerate out of a corner, and there are plenty of corners here. Furthermore SEAT Sport provided us with some more parts to help us chasing the Independents title. Besides the new front bumper that we had in the previous race, we also got the right shock absorbers and the full aerodynamics package. Basically the only thing that is different from the works Toledo Cupra is the gearbox", the SEAT Team Holland driver said.
With the help of a well-prepared car Tom was on the pace all weekend, or as he said himself "we were all the time in the first row of the timing sheets". Coronel was battling for a top ten position. "What happens then is that we were penalized twice for our bad luck in Istanbul. I did not score there because of an engine failure. After fixing it you get another punishment as you are put back ten places. This sounds like a double punishment to me. In the first race I had a good start, but the main thing was to stay out of trouble. I managed to do so and from the first lap on I was already ahead of my main opponent for the Michelin Independents Trophy. Things were looking bright for us until Stefano d'Aste outbraked himself and used my rear wheel as a brake. The only thing I could do was driving back to the pits. The GR-Asia crew needed just ten minutes to change the rear axle, which is a great job. I could do one lap but unfortunately it was not enough to get a classification and points for the Independents Trophy. However on the other hand we did not loose any points as my rivals for the Independents title had already dropped out and also failed to score".
Coronel started the second race with a rocket start as he called it himself. "I overtook about five or six people on the first lap. This put me in third place for the privateers battle. I tried to move up some more but this did not really work out. The main benefit was that Marc Hennerici, the leader in the Michelin Independents Trophy, was behind me. At the end of the race I closed the gap by four points. With one race weekend still to go it is all but decided as in the season's finale at Macau double points can be scored in both races. We have to go for it there. I know that Macau is one big casino. You can win a lot, but you have to be careful not to lose twice as much. The track is extremely tight and full of obstacles. Qualifying well saves you a lot of work because overtaking at Macau is next to impossible", Coronel said.