The margins in the FIA WTCC field often are very small. Tom Coronel experienced this once again during the tenth race weekend of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at the 4.6 kilometres long Shanghai International Circuit. Behind the wheel of the ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze on the final lap of the deciding qualifying heat, the Dutchman lacked only 16 thousandths of a second to end up in tenth place and thus claim pole position on the reversed grid for the first race.
Eleventh place on the grid for both races wasn’t the result he had hoped for.
From that position, the Dutch driver chose his own line during the chaotic opening stages of the race. Thus, he worked his way up into the top ten and then benefitted when other drivers retired. He moved up to seventh place and ended up as the best-placed driver in the WTCC Trophy for non-factory drivers. On the podium, Tom Coronel was presented with the crystal trophy. In the second race, the Dutch driver started from tenth place on the grid, because one of the drivers classified in front of him had incurred too much damage on his car during race one. With another clever line, Coronel made it through the opening stages without any problems and gained two places with a nice overtaking move. Thus, he was back in his initial position again, tenth place, in which he also finished.
Afterwards, Tom Coronel reported: “Qualifying made it clear once again how exciting the FIA WTCC is. Differences are measured in thousandths of a second. And in my case, that also was the difference between first or eleventh place on the grid. It was really close and really annoying that it just didn’t work out, especially when looking at the results afterwards. Michelisz ended up second in the first race and I was clearly ahead of him in the second race. I could also easily keep up with Bennani, who did well in race two. In general, I had quite nice races and some nice battles, too. In the first race, I made sure to avoid any damage. Last year, I had a broken wheel underneath my car here. It was clear to see that everyone was eager to get up to the front and I opted to stay out of all the action. That meant that I initially lost something, but you can make up for that later on.
That also allowed me to start the second race without any damage, which wasn’t the case for everyone. The fact is that we were again the best-placed Chevrolet here, we scored valuable points, we were on the podium and I was able to get a crystal trophy. That was a first, because I never got a crystal trophy before. It turned out not to be Coronel proof, because I already knocked an edge off, by the way. Finally, I would like to congratulate my regular mechanic Pietro. He just became the father of Mathilde and like before, I happily and successfully worked together with Francesco here, who regularly works as a mechanic at Van Amersfoort Racing in Formula 3. For the rest, we will have to wait what will happen with the race in Thailand. It is almost certain that it will be cancelled, but it isn’t 100 percent sure yet.