Tom Coronel takes two podium spots in the final and second place in the final standings of TCR Europe Series
MONTMELÓ (16 October 2022) – With a great performance at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Tom Coronel closed his season in the TCR Europe Series in style. In both races, he finished second with the Audi RS 3 LMS of team Comtoyou Racing, bringing his total in the European series to six podium finishes out of 11 races. Coronel also occupies second place in the final drivers’ championship standings, while his team Comtoyou Racing secured the team title in the 2022 TCR Europe Series partly due to Coronel’s performance. “My best European season ever,” Coronel said with great satisfaction.
Coronel’s Argentinian teammate Franco Girolami was already almost certain of the drivers’ championship title prior to the weekend, but for Coronel, who came to Spain third in the standings, it was still about the runner-up position. Coronel had a good start to the weekend with the third time in the first practice on Friday morning and the fourth time, as the best Audi driver, in the second session in the afternoon. “I already thought that it would be between Honda driver Jack Young and me. After Monza I already had a good feeling about it and that proved true here too. Besides, Barcelona always suits me and the car also went well here.”
He proved this good form once again in qualifying, where he recorded the second fastest time in the decisive second heat, again as the best Audi driver. That thus earned him a place on the first row of the grid for the first race, while he would be allowed to start the second race, with “reversed grid” for the first ten in qualifying, ninth. “Still, that qualifying wasn’t easy,” Coronel told us, “because in the morning Barcelona is very different from the afternoon. It was cold, there was also fog, so our qualifying had to be shifted, and that creates a very different balance in the car. That makes all the difference in terms of tuning while driving.”
For the race, in consultation with the team, Coronel had opted for a set-up where the car is, as he put it, “a bit more on its toes”, so more grip on the front axle, while the rear is a bit looser. This paid off in the race. “The race went fine,” Coronel said afterwards. “I really rode on Jack Young’s bumper for the entire race, but just couldn’t make the attack. Every time I thought ‘Shall I do it or shall I not do it’, there was too much risk involved, so I ended up finishing second within a second behind him, while the car on P3 was 11 seconds behind me. That says it all, I think.” Partly thanks to Coronel’s classification, the Belgian team Comtoyou Racing was already sure of the team title in the TCR Europe Series after the first race. “Very cool that we all already have that title together, now we just have to fight for second place in the drivers’ championship. That will go between Josh Files and me.”
Prior to the final race, Hyundai driver Files was still four points ahead of Coronel, and also had the advantage of starting sixth, compared to Coronel’s ninth starting position. While Coronel was able to drive well to the front in a turbulent race including two safety-car interventions, Files was involved in several incidents and ended up no further than 19th place. Coronel, on the other hand, drove a great catch-up race from ninth on the grid and finished behind his Argentinian teammate Franco Girolami, who was already sure of the drivers’ title the day before, in second place, while Belgian Audi factory driver Frédéric Vervisch completed the full podium for the Audi’s of the Comtoyou Racing team.
Coronel was particularly pleased with the conclusion of his European season. “In the early stages of the race I already had a tough fight with Files, after all it was between the two of us. A lot happened, but fortunately I was able to stay out of trouble and drive well to the front. In the last few laps I was gaining on Girolami more and more, but the race was just not long enough and so I ended up second again, back on the podium, top! As a whole, it was also a great season: vice-champion, became team champion. Victories at Paul Ricard and the Nürburgring, podium at Portimão, at Spa, here twice: my best European season ever!”