Two podium results in season finale and second place in final standings TCR Europe Series for Tom Coronel
MONTMELÓ (16 October 2022) – With a great performance at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Tom Coronel ended his TCR Europe Series season in style. In both races he finished second with the Audi RS 3 LMS in DHL livery, run by the Comtoyou Racing team, bringing his total in the European series to six podiums from eleven races. Coronel also secured runner-up position in the final standings of the drivers’ championship, while his team Comtoyou Racing won the teams’ title in the 2022 TCR Europe Series, partly due to Coronel’s performance. “My best European season ever,” Coronel said very satisfied.
Coronel’s Argentine teammate Franco Girolami was almost certain of the drivers’ championship title prior to the weekend, but for Coronel, who came to Spain third in the standings, it was still about the runner-up position. Coronel had a good start to the weekend with the third-fastest time in the first practice on Friday morning and the fourth-fastest time, as the best Audi driver, in the second session in the afternoon. “I already saw pretty soon that it would be between Honda driver Jack Young and myself. After Monza I already had a good feeling about it and that turned out to be true here as well. Moreover, Barcelona always suits me and the car went well here, too.”
He proved that good form once again in qualifying, in which he posted the second-fastest time in the decisive second heat, once again as the best Audi driver. That earned him a place on the front row of the grid for the opening race of the weekend, while he would be allowed to start the second race, with “reversed grid” for the first ten in qualifying, from ninth place. “Still, qualifying was not easy,” said Coronel, “because Barcelona is very different in the morning than in the afternoon. It was cold, there was also fog, so our qualifying had to be postponed, and the low temperatures result into a completely different balance in the car. That makes the difference in terms of adjustment while driving.”
For the race, Coronel, in consultation with the team, had opted for a set-up in which the car, as he put it, “stands a bit more on its toes”, so more grip on the front axle, while the rear is a bit looser. That paid off in the race. “The race went fine,” Coronel said afterwards. “I really drove the entire race on the bumper of Jack Young, but I just couldn’t attack. Every time I thought ‘Shall I do it or better not’, there was too much risk involved, so I ended up finishing second within a second behind him, while the car in P3 was eleven seconds behind me. That says it all, I think.” Partly thanks to Coronel’s classification, the Belgian team Comtoyou Racing was already certain of the team title in the TCR Europe Series after the first race. “Very cool that we all have that title already won, now we are still fighting for second place in the drivers’ championship. That’s between Josh Files and me.”
Prior to the final race, Hyundai driver Files was still four points ahead of Coronel and also the advantage of starting sixth on the grid compared to Coronel’s ninth starting position. While Coronel was able to make great progress in a turbulent race that included two safety car interventions, Files was involved in several incidents and ultimately did not get further than 19th place. Coronel, on the other hand, drove a great overtaking race from ninth on the grid and finished in second place behind his Argentine teammate Franco Girolami, who had already secured the driver’s title the day before, while Belgian Audi factory driver Frédéric Vervisch completed the lock-out of the podium for the Comtoyou Racing team’s Audis.
Coronel was very pleased with the conclusion of his European season. “In the early stages of the race I already had a tough fight with Files, because it was between the two of us. A lot of things happened, but luckily I was able to stay out of trouble and drive nicely to the front. In the last few laps I closed up more and more to Girolami, but the race was just not long enough anymore and so I ended up second again, back on the podium, top! As a whole, it was also a great season: runner-up, team champion. Victories at Paul Ricard and the Nürburgring, podium at Portimão, in Spa, here twice: my best European season ever!”
Coronel will be back in action next week already, then during test drives as part of the FIA Motorsport Games at Paul Ricard, where the race will be held a week later. “There I drive for the Netherlands, for which the colour scheme of the car will be adjusted a bit, with more orange and the colours of the Dutch flag in it. On Sunday we will have our first test with the Pirelli tyres, which we drive for the first time, and then the race a week after that, I am also very curious about that. But first let’s go home with two trophies!”