WTCC Macau: Tom Coronel finally a podium!

Tom Coronel © DR

Whenever the notorious street circuit of Macau is on the racing calendar, it has a certain appeal to racing drivers, too. The track is unforgiving and requires undivided attention throughout from car and driver. Based on his many years of experience, driver Tom Coronel knows this like nobody else and therefore, he was looking forward to the two FIA WTCC races that were to be held here on two separate days.

In his ROAL Motorsport-prepared Chevrolet Cruze, he managed to secure eighth place on the grid in qualifying that also meant a front row grid slot for the Opening Race thanks to the reversed-grid ruling. He made the best use of this favourable grid position by slotting into second place behind race leader Mehdi Bennani. By clever positioning himself and using all his track knowledge, Tom Coronel managed to stay away from the fights and concluded the race that was called early on the penultimate lap in second place. Thus, he scored his long-awaited podium finish and Tom Coronel visibly enjoyed it, as did his ROAL Motorsport team member and the fans that were present for the occasion. The second race will be held on Sunday in the early morning hours.

Tom Coronel afterwards: « A podium finish at last. We already had a podium finish in sight two or three times earlier, but every time, something went wrong. We did know, however, that we had the right set-up for a street circuit, so it simply had to happen here! Based on my experience, I know how difficult Macau can be. In many sectors, the circuit is really narrow and you have to be focussed for one hundred percent lap after lap. There are several blind corners where you don’t know what you will find at the exit. But things went well, with the car, the team and on track. Here, the Citroëns are racing without any handicap weight and there are also two factory teams, so eighth place in Q1 was where I belong. Here, the car did have a lot of grip, but because of the bumps, you have to be careful with the brakes. Sometimes, it happens that you have to push the pedal a little bit deeper to brake.

« The start is another issue, because the factory drivers have a semi-manual start system to ensure that hardly anything can go wrong. I have to do it mostly based on my own feeling. Fortunately, things went well and I could slot into second place straight away. In the opening stages, there were some attacks by Michigami in the factory Honda who especially was faster on the straight. The grip allowed me to pull away from him in the twisty part and I made it to the finish even without a scratch on the car to be classified second. Nice that it finally worked out at the end of the season, both for the team and for myself. This is what we really had been waiting for and now it is here. There is another race tomorrow, but then, the starting grid position is somewhat more difficult. I will be in eight place and have to make my way to the front without any damage. Today, we have seen more than once that this is by no means easy, but we will do our best and try to end up as high as possible. »

Result Opening Race Macau:
1. Mehdi Bennani (Mar) Citroën C-Elysée, 5 laps in 12:26.832
2. Tom Coronel (Ned) ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze, +1.952
3.Ryo Michigami (Jpn) Honda Civic, +3.265
4.Thed Björk (Swe) Volvo S60 Polestar, +3.627
5. Norbert Michelisz (Hun) Honda Civic, +4.577
6. Esteban Guerrieri (Arg) Honda Civic, +5.379…   

Press Release,