Tommy jump on Suzuka podium
Tom Coronel claims historic victory in 200th FIA WTCC race in Japan
Suzuka, September 22nd, 2013 – The tenth race weekend, but even more importantly the 199th and 200th race in history of the FIA WTCC, took place on the short circuit of Suzuka in Japan. Here, Tom Coronel scored an impressive victory in the second race with his ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC.
One lap of the 2.2 kilometres long track takes less than one minute. With yellow flags out several times, overtaking is usually difficult. After a cautious first race, in which he finished eighth, Tom Coronel had his eyes set on the second race. He started from second place and slotted in behind fellow BMW driver, Mehdi Bennani. In the second half of the race, the 41-year old Dutch driver took the lead and went on to claim his third race win in his beloved Japan. Thus, the clever strategy in practice and the best use of the new tyres he had available worked out in an optimal way. This race win in the FIA WTCC promotes Tom Coronel to eighth place in the drivers’ standings with 143 points.
“If there ever was one race I wanted to win this year, it was this one. In Japan, where I already had so much success, where the people still support me in a massive way and where the passion for motorsport is still very much alive. Winning the 200th WTCC race is just fantastic,” Coronel said, also having participated in all these races. He continues: “This is really what it is all about. Fantastic! I was already on the pace in the free practice sessions and in qualifying, we made the best use of the new set of tyres we still had available after the event in the United States. In top 12 qualifying, we took the risk of trying to get up as high as possible in the reversed starting grid order for the second race. That worked out perfectly with ninth place that put me on the front row of the grid. It was tense, because I had set my time quite early and there were quite a few drivers still on track towards the end of the session. But it worked out: part one of the strategy completed.”
“For the first race, we used an almost new set of tyres. I made a good start and battled with Thompson’s Lada and a couple of SEATs. They were faster on the straights, but I caught up in the twisty part every lap. There also was plenty of action in front of us and my only thought was to make it to the finish without any damage and score the necessary points. That worked out, and we moved on to the second race. Bennani opted for a different strategy and, just like in race one, ran with less rear wing. Initially, this made him a little bit faster, but also put more load on his tyres. Moreover, I wanted to have more downforce under braking to be able to do something there, Right after the start, Muller got off the track, making overtaking or outbraking somebody on the straight impossible. I kept up the pressure and I saw that Bennani’s tyres were losing grip. He started making more mistakes and once, this mistake was too big and I went past. After that, I increased my lead and completed the final laps without any problems to score my third WTCC race win. A nice result at a good moment, because everybody is already looking forward to next year. BMW has announced that it will not build a new car for the WTCC and there is plenty of interest for drivers with other brands. Of course, you always hope that a result like today is playing a role in the teams’ decisions. Personally, I hope to continue with ROAL Motorsport, because it is a closely-knit team where we understand each other very well and where we achieve nice results, like we did today,” Tom Coronel says with a smile.
A video of Tom Coronel in the successful race weekend at Suzuka is available at: http://youtu.be/zAN886hNr0U
Result Race 1: 1.Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) 26 laps in 23:58.613; 2. Alex MacDowall +4.832; 3. Yvan Muller +5.149; 4. Tom Chilton +5.422; 5. James Nash (all Chevrolet Cruze) +14.377 and 8.Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC) op 25.940.
Result Race 2: 1.Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC) 26 laps in 23:56.929; 2. Mehdi Bennani (BMW 320 TC) +2.259; 3. Tiago Monteiro +9.935; 4.Gabriele Tarquini (both Honda Civic WTCC) +10.732; 5. James Nash +11.438 and 6. Tom Chilton (both Chevrolet Cruze) +11.802.
Calendar 2013 FIA WTCC 2013*
China November 2-3
Macau November 15-17
(*subject to change)
In the 2013 FIA WTCC season, Tom Coronel is being supported by:
McGregor, TW Steel -big in oversized watches-, Valvoline, DHL, AkzoNobel stickerfixtm , Equinix, Boretti, De Wild Multi Print Solutions, Intrax, Playseat, Super-B en Freem.