Solid points’ haul and class win for Tom Coronel in FIA WTCR Vallelunga
VALLELUNGA (24 July 2022) – “And yet another trophy to bring home!” Tom Coronel, the only Dutch driver in the highest global touring car series, was happy after the race weekend of the FIA WTCR – World Touring Car Cup at the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi near Rome. In the first race, the driver of the Audi RS 3 LMS run by the Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport was classified sixth while also winning the WTCR Trophy for privateer drivers. In the second race, he was classified seventh. “I drove a bit cautiously as many drivers had to deal with blown tyres, but I am quite happy with the results. After all, I scored quite a lot of points again,” Coronel said.
In the summerly heat at the short configuration of the Italian circuits, the tyre load was immense. That even forced the five drivers of the Chinese Lynk & Co brand to park their cars in the pits after the formation lap for both races as the team wasn’t certain that the cars would make it throughout the race distance without punctures. Drivers of other brands also had to deal with punctures during both races. “I had one myself on the cooling-down lap at the end of the first race, so thankfully, I had finished already,” Coronel said. “Always the left front tyre, also for several of my teammates, so I drove really cautiously because I definitely wanted to make it to the finish and to score points!”
Coronel got his weekend off to a good start with top ten classifications in the free practice sessions. “Ninth or tenth place was more or less my wish and my goal, meaning that I would also be nicely at the front on the reversed grid for the second race,” Coronel said. That still making it through to Q2 for the twelve fastest drivers and aimed at tenth place or higher in the second heat. “That went wrong, though,” he admitted afterwards. “I had two sets of fresh tyres left for Q2 and on the final run, I was to get a slipstream from my two teammates to achieve a fast lap time, but there was a misunderstanding and it didn’t work out. As a result, I was unable to improve my lap time and I ended up twelfth, which was really disappointing. I definitely had expected more.”
In the first race, Coronel gained a few positions straight away due to the non-start of the Lynk & Cos. “I had a decent getaway, had a few battles with Huff and Monteiro, but I was able to keep them at bay. Then I saw several drivers, including my teammate Bennani, getting punctures and I started driving more safely to ease the load on the left front tyre. That meant lifting the throttle in the first part of the circuit in a corner that is normally full throttle. I lost a lot of time as a result, but I did make it to the finish and ended up sixth while also winning the WTCR Trophy.”
Temperatures were even higher for the second race late in the afternoon, so Coronel again drove cautiously. “Eventually, I started eleventh as Guerrieri had an engine change and had to start at the back. I slightly lost the connection to the drivers in front of me in the first two laps, but I ended up seventh, which is another quite decent result. Moreover, our team Comtoyou made it a 1-2 with Magnus and Berthon, a good result for Berthon in DHL livery as well, so that was nice to see! And now it is time for a brief holiday!” The next two WTCR races will be held at the Anneau du Rhin near Colmar in the French Alsace region on 7 August.