Solid FIA WTCR season opener for Tom Coronel
Over four months later than initially planned, the FIA WTRC World Touring Car Cup season finally got underway. That also marked the start of the season for Tom Coronel with the Audi RS 3 LMS, run by Belgian outfit Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport. The circuit of Zolder in Belgium had been chosen as the venue for the season opener at a very late stage, making it a home round not only for the team, but also for Coronel, who has racded many times at the Flemish circuit during his long career. In the first race, Coronel only just missed out on a podium finish as he came fourth while also winning the FIA WTCR Trophy for privateer drivers. In the second race, he was classified sixth, equalling second place in the WTCR Trophy classification. “It is long ago that we last scored such results, a very good start,” Coronel said.
On Thursday, FIA WTCR teams and drivers had the opportunity to prepare for the season opener during an official test day. There, Coronel showed already that he had good pace. That continued during the two free practice sessions on the Friday, during which Coronel again was in contention at the front of the field. In first qualifying, he posted the fifth fastest time, in second qualifying, he was classified sixth, resulting into good grid positions for the two races. Coronel commented: “I only missed out on fifth place by twelve thousandths of a second. Otherwise, I would have been in the shoot-out as well, but generally, I was really happy. The Audi handled well, we tried a lot in terms of shock absorbers and brakes and that worked really well. The extesive testing paid off, but so did the track knowledge of the team and myself.”
In the first race, Coronel moved up to fourth place and battled with Attila Tassi, who eventually finished third, for a long time. Coronel only just missed out on a podium finish. In the second race, his start wasn’t the best, but he nicely defended his sixth place. In the ranking for privateer drivers, reinstated for this year, Coronel claimed victory in the first race and runner-up spot in the second race.
“I had some really nice battles, in the first race with Tassi and in the second race with Girolami, who had won the opening race”, Coronel reported. “At the start of the second race, there was the usual argy-bargy, I was racing door-to-door with Jean-Karl Vernay. After that, I fought with Girolami for many laps. I was on his rear bumper all the time and tried everything, but couldn’t find a way past. All in all, I am happy with this weekend, good results. The good preparation has clearly paid off. The Audi ran really well at this track, especially over the kerbstones. A good start of the season. I am happy, I am really convinced that this is going to be a very good season!”
FIA WTCR action already continues in a fortnight with a pair of races at the famous Nürburgrig-Nordschleife, a track that ranks among Tom Coronel’s favourite circuits.
Kalender Tom Coronel FIA WTCR
24-26 september: Nürburgring-Nordschleife
10-11 oktober: Slovakia Ring
17-18 oktober: Hungaroring
31 oktober – 1 november: Aragón
14-15 november: Adria
Results FIA WTCR, Circuit Zolder (Bel), 13 September 2020
1. Nestor Girolami (Arg), Honda Civic TCR, 13 r. in 21.17.425
2. Thed Björk (Swe), Lynk & Co 03 TCR, +1.127
3. Attila Tassi (Hun), Honda Civic TCR, +1.844
4. Tom Coronel (Ned), Audi RS 3 LMS, +2.072
1. Yann Ehrlacher (Fra), Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 18 r. in 33.47.255
2. Yvan Muller (Fra), Lynk & Co 03 TCR, +0.870
3. Santiago Urrutia (Ury), Lynk & Co 03 TCR, +1.376
6. Tom Coronel (Ned), Audi RS 3 LMS, +5.694