Valencia, April 1st, 2012 – For its third and fourth season rounds, the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) headed to the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia in Spain. Tom Coronel, the 39 year-old Dutch driver continued its strong performance from the season opener with his ROAL Motorsport BMW 320 TC. In spite of a broken driveshaft at the start of the first qualifying heat, the Dutchman claimed third place on the starting grid for the first race. In that position, he also crossed the finish line at the end of the race, trailing home Frenchman Yvan Muller with a Chevrolet Cruze and Italian Gabriele Tarquini with a SEAT. For the second race, with a standing start, Tom Coronel was eighth on the grid. An impeccable getaway saw him move up into fifth place and he continued his progress to finish second, making it two podiums for the Dutch driver who is currently ranked third in the World Championship Drivers’ standings and was crowned as the most successful driver of the weekend.
Looking back on qualifying, Tom Coronel said: “The right-hand driveshaft broke at the start of the first session. I managed to make it into the pits where the ROAL technicians quickly solved the problem. A big hand to them! After that, we had to set a good lap time in the remaining six minutes. That worked out and that also allowed me to take part in the second qualifying heat. Once again, I had that good feeling with the car and the team. That also enabled me to keep up with the pace in race one.”
“I had a great battle with Gabriele Tarquini, during which I slightly hit the back of his SEAT a few times. But nothing serious, because he never lost control. Nevertheless, I was given a warning flag. According to me, that wasn’t justified, as this is also part of motor racing. Still, I drove slightly more cautiously as I didn’t want to lose my third place. Afterwards, I went to see Gabriele, but he only laughed, so that warning was too bad. I hope that the stewards will do it likewise with other drivers next time when they hit me on the rear bumper of my car in the same way.”
“The start of the second race was as good as they come. Just awesome! I was eighth on the grid and I was already fourth or fifth coming out of the first corner. After that, I just kept pushing. My car was great and I was able to battle with the guys in front, until I started having some problems with the front tyres. A mega ‘drop-off’. I lost my place to Engstler, who was quicker, and I was back in fourth place again. Towards the end of the race, several drivers slid off the track on oil in front of me. I moved up into second place behind race leader Menu. When you are so close from victory, you keep trying. In the process, Alain Menu in the leading Chevrolet closed the door on me and smoke started to come off my front tyre. I knew that second place was the most I could get. Thus, I achieved my maximum score in a WTCC weekend to date and I am now third in the world championship as a result. That is a first for me, too! This whole weekend was just great, thanks to the entire team for their effort. I am really happy that we are on the pace. Winning races will remain difficult, but podium finishes are within reach and that is what we are aiming at.”
A video with Tom’s race weekend in Valencia is available through the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfYunnm92uY.
Result Race 1:
1.Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze 13 laps in 22:53.924; 2. Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT Leon WTCC) +6-988; 3. Tom Coronel (ROAL MOTORSPORT BMW 320 TC) +7.232, 4. Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze) +8.982; 5. Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze) +9.250, 6. Pepe Oriola (SEAT Leon WTCC) +10.614.
Result Race 2:
1.Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze) 13 laps in 23:03.207; 2. Tom Coronel (ROAL MOTORSPORT BMW 320 TC) +0.861; 3. Stefano D’Aste (BMW 320 TC) +1.306; 4. Norbert Michelisz (BMW 320 TC) +1.629; 5. Franz Engstler (BMW 320 TC) +1.901, 6. Rob Huff (Chevrolet Cruze) +3.007.
Drivers’ standings after 4 rounds:
1.Yvan Muller 88 points; 2. Alain Menu 61, ; 3. Tom Coronel 58; 4. Rob Huff 57; 5. Gabriele Tarquini 44; 6. Stefano D’Aste 25.