WTCC Slovakia race highlights Tom Coronel, ROAL Motorsport 2016
Bratislava, April 17, 2016 – The 5.922 kilometres long Automotodrom Slovakia Ring in Orechova (Slovakia) has been on the calendar of the FIA World Touring Car Championship since 2012. The 2016 running of the event saw a pair of highly exciting races, especially at the front of the field. In free practice, Tom Coronel still showed reasonable pace with his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze, but lost contact to the front runners over the course of the weekend. The car and the race track were anything but a perfect match, as the rather poor result of all the Chevrolets showed this weekend. Coronel had to make do with a position in the lower ranks of the starting grid for both races. In the Opening Race, he also had a poor getaway, but still managed to make up one place. The start of the Main Race went better, allowing the Dutchman to move up towards the top ten. Partly thanks to drivers in front of him retiring, Coronel eventually progressed to tenth place. This result saw him take twelfth place in the world championship standings and third place in the ranking of the WTCC Trophy for privateer drivers.
“Fortunately, a world championship point after all,” Tom Coronel reported after the race. “That means we didn’t come here for nothing. This circuit is really hard for the Chevrolets. It seems like the two simply weren’t made for each other. We were by no means the only ones having troubles, the other Cruze drivers were equally suffering. In free practice, my speed was still reasonable, so we didn’t make too many changes on the car, but when the others went out with fresh tyres, the gap got bigger. The question how to solve this remained. That turned put to be very difficult and with the round in Hungary following next week already, we decided to avoid any unnecessary risks. In Hungary, I came second last year and that is a track that definitely suits us much better. Therefore, we decided to save one fresh set of tyres for next weekend.”
Coronel continued: “In race 1, I could hardly see the starting lights, so I didn’t have the best of starts. On top of that, the drivers around me all had fresh tyres, unlike me. When one of them, Thompson, made a mistake later on, I managed to overtake him and I moved up one place. However, fifteenth place was all I could do. The second start went much better and I was able to push and take part in the battles. After one of the Volvos pulled away from us fairly easily, I was involved in the battle with Filippi and Thompson who were behind me with their Chevrolets. Between the two races, we had made some changes on the car, making it just that little bit better. I finished as the best-placed Chevrolet driver and the third privateer. What we did here literally was damage control. Now, our focus is on next week when we are racing in Hungary and the new handicap weights are coming into force as well. There, I hope to have a good performance and perhaps repeat my second place from last year. Now that would be really cool! It is a track that suits me,” Tom Coronel concludes.
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