Equipment partly lets Tom Coronel down in FIA WTCR at Motorland Aragón
ARAGON (1 November 2020) – The 5.345 kilometres long Motorland Aragón circuit in Spain hosted the fifth and penultimate round of the 2020 FIA WTCR World Touring Car Cup season. Driving the Audi RS 3 LMS run by Belgian outfit Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Dutch driver Tom Coronel was optimistic as the race weekend got underway, but a rather unfortunate timing in qualifying saw him end up only 18th on the grid for all three races. In the first two races, he was unable to make it to the finish due to technical failures. In the third race, he finished ninth and therefore at least scored some points. “Still a halfway decent ending, but the two retirements are really annoying,” Tom Coronel said.
The weekend, meanwhile, had started in a positive way: “We were consistenly in the top five in the free practice sessions,” Coronel reported about his achievement. “The Audi ran really well here, we also had some good tests, so we were optimistic for qualifying. Therefore, we decided to do one qualifying run, but suddenly, there was a white Cupra in front of me, so I was stuck in traffic and lost time. After that, I started another attempt, but during that one, I locked up under braking. And that is how I ended up only 18th… That was also due to the fact that I was only able to do two runs, because the lap here is really long, so there wasn’t any more time left. Too bad, because I am certain that I would have been able to end up somewhere around fifth place.”
In the first race, Coronel had a particularly good start from 15th place after some drivers were dropped on the grid. “I moved up into eleventh straight away, it went really well,” the driver reported. However, the equipment halted his progress: “I had a significant loss of engine power. Eventually, it turned out that a bolt from the bellhouse of the gearbox had come loose that ended up somewhere in the clutch. That leads to a resonance in the engine, prompting it to switch into emergency mode immediately, so I had no other option but to head into the pits.”
The team managed to replace the clutch within the allocated repair time, enabling Coronel to take part in the second race as well. “Once again starting from P18 and again with a very good start,” Coronel said. “I made it perfectly through the first two laps, I was up in twelfth place straight away, behind Girolami, with whom I had a fierce battle.” Once again, however, Coronel had to deal with a technical failure. “This time, a bolt in the right rear wheel suspension broke, so that the wheel was no longer correctly positioned underneath the car. That led to a lot of smoke coming into the interior, so I had to retire again. I really had enough of all these technical mishaps!”
Once more, Coronel started 18th for the third race. “That was a very good race,” Coronel reported afterwards. “I had some nice battles, among others with Guerrieri, one of the main contenders for the championship title. Eventually, I managed to overtake him. Then I was behind Josh Files, but I was no longer in a position to catch him, to. As a result, I finished ninth. Fortunately, at least I managed to make it to the finish and to score some points again as well, but of course, not having been able to score in the first two races hurts.”
In a fortnight, competitors in the FIA WTCR will be back in action at Motorland Aragón for the final races of the season. Originally, the season finale was scheduled to take place at Adria Raceway near Venice, but reconstruction at the Italian circuit isn’t ready in time, so that the organisers had to look out for an alternative venue that was found at Aragón. “Theoretically, I can even still win the title,” says Coronel, who dropped back to eleventh in the drivers’ standings as a result of his two retirements. “But that is only theory. In any case, we will try to finish the season as well as we can.”