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Progress at Pau for Tom Coronel in FIA WTCR season opener

Gepubliceerd op 08 May 2022

PAU (8 May 2022) – One week after the start of the TCR Europe Series in Portugal, where Tom Coronel got his season underway with a podium finish, the new racing year in the FIA WTCR – World Touring Car Cup started at Pau in the south of France. Overtaking is notoriously difficult at the street circuit where races have been held since 1933 already. Therefore, it was all the more disappointing that Coronel was unable to fulfil the high expectations after free practice during qualifying. Nevertheless, the Dutch driver in the Audi RS 3 LMS run by Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport was able to make up positions during both races. As a result, Coronel ended up eleventh in the first race and was classified twelfth in the second race.



For Coronel, the FIA WTCR season opener at the Pau street circuit marked his return to the venue where he had last raced in 2009 with the FIA WTCC at the time. “I had to find my way again,” he reported. As a result, Coronel ended up a bit down the order in first free practice, but then was classified sixth in second practice as the best-placed Audi driver in the field. “That was a good perspective. We were doing nicely in terms of speed and that gave me a good feeling for qualifying,” Coronel reported.



Reality, however, turned out to be different as qualifying had nothing more in store for him than 16th place on the grid for both races. “Too bad, I am really disappointed with that,” Coronel admitted. “I just didn’t get it right in qualifying. Once, I made a mistake myself, then I got stuck in traffic and during my next attempt, I had a slow puncture on the right front tyre, so that didn’t help either. In terms of speed, I certainly would have been able to pull it off, but at a street circuit, you also have to be at the right place at the right time and unfortunately, that didn’t work out. And yes, that annoys me quite a lot.”



In the races, Coronel succeeded in making up positions. He reports: “In race 1, I really had a rocket start! Here, the circuit is very narrow in the first corner, so it was quite messy with some contact, too. Eventually, I was able to overtake Tiago Monteiro and Rob Huff, so that were the first two places done. Then, Huff and I got involved in a nice fight that actually lasted all race long. The rear end of my car was quite damaged, he just kept pushing, but it was a nice and fair race. We are racing buddies, we know how to handle that. So I eventually finished eleventh, which is not too bad at all at a street circuit, coming from 16th on the grid.”


In race two, Coronel had another excellent getaway, but he became a victim of other drivers. “I really had a mega start, I was on the inside and had already overtaken three drivers again, but all of a sudden, everything was stuck in front of me, so I had to brake hard and was fully locked in behind my teammates. As a result, I had to start all over again from the back and from last place, I managed to overtake some drivers again and finished twelfth. P11 and P12 from 16th on the grid isn’t too bad and also without any damage to speak of. That was quite a decent start. We scored points, we were clever. That is the main thing.”



Tom Coronel’s next event are the two TCR Europe Series races at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet in the south-west of France on 21 and 22 May. One week later, the next two FIA WTCR will be held as part of the support package of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.