BMW driver Tom Coronel back on the podium in Salzburgring FIA WTCC races
Salzburg, May 20th, 2012 – During his long career in motor racing, Tom Coronel had never raced before at the 4.225 kilometres long and fast Salzburgring in Austria. After a clever performance in qualifying, the 40-year old Dutch driver is looking back upon two successful races. With his ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC, he qualified ninth for the first race, in which he gained one place to finish eighth. In the second race, he started with fresh tyres from second place on the grid and finished on the podium.
Coronel having completed a few laps in the lead in this race, the Chevrolet train came past at full steam, overtaking the Dutchman, who was fourth after that. Problems with the left front tyre made two of the three Chevrolets drop back and thus, Tom Coronel closed up into second place behind race leader Rob Huff in the final remaining Chevy. BMW driver Stefano D’Aste, who was behind Tom Coronel, opted for the outside line in the final corner to overtake the Chevrolet that was losing speed and Coronel, who was slipstreaming behind Huff. At the finish line, Huff’s tyre blew as well, but that was just too late for the Dutch BMW driver to pick up another position. This third place puts him back into fourth place in the WTCC drivers’ standings.
Tom Coronel commented afterwards: “This was a new circuit for me. It is nice to be able to add another circuit to your list after more than 22 years of racing. It is a strategic circuit where slipstreams are all-important. This time again, I tried to stay close to the Chevys, but they really are too quick. And with three corners and two chicanes, there are not too many opportunities to make up ground. In qualifying I was sixth, so just outside the points. That was all I could do, we just couldn’t go any quicker and at times when I thought that I could try something, the Chevys where there again, with some bodywork contact and all that. So, we decided to save a set of fresh tyres for the second race. That also explains the ninth place. Like that, you are on the front row for race two and you have at least a chance of making it onto the podium.”
“After the first start, I got stuck and to save the car for the second race, I drove defensively. Like that, I lost three places, which I gained back again later on in the race after others made mistakes. Eighth place was all I could do and it gave me some world championship points again.”
“For the second race, I had made a deal with D’Aste, saying that we wouldn’t fight, but try to pull clear together instead. That worked out, but the Chevys were back again pretty soon. No way to keep them at bay, so I slotted back in behind them again. With four laps to go, the front-wheel driven cars started to have problems with the left front wheel. Two of the Chevys in front of me were gone and I also knew that my main rival in the world championship standings, Gabriele Tarquinii, was having tyre problems. I stayed behind the only remaining Chevy of Rob Huff until the final corner. I was certain to make it on the podium. But Huff lost speed, too, and D’Aste came on the outside to overtake both of us in the final corner. I still tried to find a way past Huff, but he still had a little bit too much speed. A third place and, even more importantly, the necessary points once again, and that’s what it’s all about!”
A video with Tom Coronel’s racing weekend in Austria is available at:
Result race 1 FIA WTCC Salzburg:
1.Robert Huff 14 laps in 23:26.809; 2. Yvan Muller +0.312; 3. Alain Menu +0.739 (all Chevrolet Cruze 1.6 T); 4. Gabriele Tarquini +2.919 (SEAT LEON WTCC); 5. Tiago Monteiro (SR LEon 1.6 T) +3.483 and 8 .Tom Coronel +6.923 (ROAL MOTORSPORT BMW 320 TC).
Result race 2:
1.Stefano D’Aste 12 laps in 17:58.529 (BMW 320 TC); 2.Rob Huff +0.377 (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6 T); 3. Tom Coronel +0.494 (ROAL MOTORSPORT BMW 320 TC); 4. Pepe Oriola +4.103 (SEAT LEON WTCC) ; 5. Norbert Michelisz +4.929 and 6. Mehdi Bennani +5.432 (both BMW 320 TC).
Drivers’ standings after 12 of 24 rounds
1.Yvan Muller 206 points; 2. Robert Huff 198; 3. Alain Menu 175; 4. Tom Coronel 115, 5. Gabriele Tarquini 111.