WTCR : A busy weekend with races in the Czech Republic and Spain for Tom Coronel

Due to a change of the FIA WTCR – World Touring Car Cup schedule, the newly added WTCR round at Automotodrom Most in the Czech Republic now clashed with the TCR Europe Series season finale that had been already planned at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Montmeló in Spain. For Tom Coronel, racing in both series, that caused a logistical problem, but thanks to some commuting, he was able to participate in three of the four races. The two WTCR races with the new Audi RS 3 LMS in DHL livery, run by Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, resulted into a pair of tenth-place finishes. In the first TCR Europe Series race, in which Coronel raced the previous generation of the Audi, he finished 14th, ending up fourth in the final championship standings.

The weekend started on Friday with FIA WTCR qualifying in Most. Coronel: « On my first outing, I was already nicely on the pace with the fifth-fastest time. In the second outing with fresh tyres, I was on my way to a considerable faster lap time, but then I had massive oversteer in turn 13, a very fast right-hander. I still only lost two tenths, so I could have continued, but I thought ‘I rather wait for my third outing’. So I went into the pits for fresh tyres, but with these, I locked up under braking on my first lap. I simply messed it up myself like that. I would have been much higher up, 100 percent, because even with my first run, I just missed out on the top twelve by only 0.04 seconds. Fourth, fifth would certainly have been in it, but as we all know, that doesn’t count. »

After that, Coronel, his team principal, his chief mechanic and the cameramen drove to Prague, from where the quartet flew to Barcelona for the TCR Europe Series in the evening. « We arrived in the hotel at 1.30 am, » Coronel said. « We went to the circuit on Saturday morning where I did the set-up of the car. After that, we had qualifying. I made a little mistake there, the rear wing was still in the setting for Monza with -2 degrees whereas we did the race with +4, so I had too much oversteer and that is why I missed out on the top twelve by a tenth of a second. I was really gutted! In the race, I started well, but on the opening lap, Jelmini punted me off, coming 50 metres from behind. He was even behind two others, totally missed his braking point. Eventually, I still moved up through the field quite nicely, making up three or four places and also overtook Girolami, who was battling for second in the championship. In total, I ended up 14th. A nice race, but too bad that the result wasn’t there. » In the final standings of the TCE Europe Series, Coronel ended up in fourth place of the 26 drivers who scored points in course of the season.

On Saturday evening, the travel group flew back to Berlin and a three-hour drive to Most followed. « Again, I was in bed at 1.30 am, » Coronel said. « On Sunday morning, it was back to the track where I first did the DHL VIP laps with the DHL guests, including the riders who had won the world endurance championship title for Superbikes at Most the day before, that was quite special. » Coronel started the first race from 13th on the grid. « It was quite a good start, » he reported. « I was able to get through quite nicely, even overtook Tarquini because there was so little grip. Overtaking was difficult. I also had a fight with Huff who hit me and I finished in tenth place. »

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