Tom Coronel completed a double-points score with a strong top-10 finish for the Honda Civic Type R TCR in the third and final WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup race of the weekend at the Slovakia Ring on Sunday.
The Boutsen Ginion Racing driver avoided an opening-lap incident that eliminated 10 cars to climb from 17th place on the grid into the top 10.
His eighth-place finish, coupled with his seventh spot on Saturday afternoon and his season’s-best sixth place in opening qualifying, made it his most successful weekend of 2018.
After finishing a fine fifth in Saturday’s second race, Tom’s team-mate Benjamin Lessennes made an excellent start from eighth on Sunday and had gained two positions by the exit of Turn One.
Unfortunately for the Belgian, he was hit hard from behind at Turn Three and spun into several other cars – including the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri.
While Benjamin and Esteban – who had qualified an excellent third – were eliminated on the spot, the second Münnich car of Yann Ehrlacher did make it through the melee.
Unlike Tom, Yann was forced to go to the outside of the incident, dropping to the back of the field and ingesting a lot of debris and grass into the cooling intake on his Civic Type R.
The Frenchman launched an almighty fightback, setting impressive laptimes and climbing from 17th to 12th by half-distance, despite his engine temperature rising due to the build-up of debris
This rising temperature, coupled with three hard hits in as many corners by another car, forced Yann into the pits to have the debris removed. He re-joined and finished 15th.
Yann lies fourth in the Drivers’ Championship as the WTCR enters its summer break. Esteban is eighth while Münnich are third in the Teams’ points table.
Boutsen Ginion Racing are ninth while drivers Benjamin and Tom holds 14th and 19th positions.
The results from Race Three remain provisional pending the result of appeals lodged by ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport and Boutsen Ginion Racing against exclusion from Saturday qualifying due to what were deemed to be incorrect boost pressures on all three cars.
Tom Coronel #9 : « I’ve finished eighth today, and combined with seventh yesterday, this is my best points total from any event this year, so I’m pleased. I think today’s result was a little lucky because I chose the inside line when I saw the big accident on the first lap, and that helped me gain a lot of places. There was one silly moment with Petr Fulin when he gave me a ‘move or we crash’ moment, so I moved, but other than that it was a good race. We have genuinely made a step forward this weekend compared to what we’ve done in the past few rounds and that gives me optimism for the Asian events. »
Benjamin Lessennes #63 : « Today I think I lost a good result. My start was OK, but I got a great run through Turn One so I gained a place going down to Turn Three. Then I started to brake and was hit from behind by Gabriele Tarquini. That was my race over. I’m disappointed, especially because I was confident that I could move forwards even more. The car was strong today and I’m sorry the team couldn’t have the result they worked hard for. »
Yann Ehrlacher #68 : « Today’s race was very tough. I had a good start from 13th and made up a few places, but then I had to go wide to avoid the big accident and I picked up all kinds of dirt on my tyres and in my intake, so while the safety car allowed me to clean my tyres, the engine temperature started to be a concern because the cooling ducts were blocked. Then I was hit many times on the same lap by Rob Huff and that damaged the car even more. Eventually I had to pit to have the cooling system cleared, but the laps after that were very fast. It’s a shame because points were definitely possible – even after the first lap. »
Esteban Guerrieri #86 : « What can I say? Starting from third place, I was optimistic of a good result today. Unfortunately, as I braked for Turn Three, I was hit from behind very hard and that was it; I was out. It’s unfortunately another weekend when we’ve had too much bad luck and I’ve twice been knocked out on the first lap and lost a lot of points. I’m staying positive though and we now have a long time to prepare for Ningbo, where I won last year. »
Olivia Boutsen – Team Manager – Boutsen Ginion Racing : « It’s great to see Tom score double points and his race pace was good, but it’s incredibly disappointing to see Benjamin eliminated in a big accident that was not his fault. We found some improvements for his car for Race Two and thought we’d made another step forwards for Race Three, but we never got the chance to see if this worked. It’s been our first time racing at the Slovakia Ring and I’ve been impressed with the facility, so I hope we can come back again in the future. »
Dominik Greiner – Team Manager – ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport : « This wasn’t the weekend we’d hoped for. Esteban has twice been knocked out of races this weekend after starting them sixth and third, so there’s a big points loss through no fault of any of our drivers. Yann’s also been very unlucky with the result today. It’s a real shame for our team, who have worked so hard to prepare the cars for this weekend after the huge damage sustained in Portugal. We’d prefer to go into the summer break on a high, but at least we now have a chance to refresh and bounce back in China. »
Mads Fischer – TCR Project Leader, JAS Motorsport : « It’s been a tough day and it’s a shame that both the Boutsen Ginion Racing and ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport teams haven’t been rewarded for the incredibly hard work they’ve put into this event. I’m pleased to see Tom score double-points, but it’s clear that Benjamin, Yann and Esteban could have had good results today as well if the luck had been on their side. We’ll continue to work hard and make sure the teams have the best possible package for the Asian races. »
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