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Tom Coronel: ‘An expensive weekend’

Tom Coronel admitted that the World Touring Car Championship races at the Salzburgring had been a ‘special and expensive’ weekend after the Dutch driver picked up €4,000 of fines on his way to two tenth-placed finishes.

Coronel originally qualified down in 12th in what was the WTCC’s most controversial qualifying session in its ten-year existence. Having not posted a time in the first half of Q2, Coronel set out to set a time in the second half of the session. However, no-one in front of the Dutchman seemed keen to improve their time.

The result saw the pack crawl around the lap and miss the cut-off time to start a new flying lap, as no-one wanted to head the field and provide those behind them with a free slipstream. Coronel, however, failed to see the chequered flag and set off on a fast lap, only to spin into the barriers half-way around.

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Along with thirteen other drivers, Coronel was penalised for his slow driving actions, dropping 15 places on the race one grid and therefore starting the race from 19th.

“We knew that a slipstream would be important here, especially with a rear-wheel driven car,” explained Coronel of his qualifying actions. “It has been like that for years and everybody knows it.

“[In Q2] I decided together with my team to wait until the second run. At that time, everybody was on the track and had a lap time already. We waited until the last moment and wanted to use a slipstream for a fast lap time. But everybody seemed to be happy with their times and nobody was driving at speed.

“First, I joined the queue, but then I realised that it would be very close. So I moved up further to the front to see who would go for a lap time, but there turned out to be nobody! That meant no slipstream and in the turmoil, I didn’t see the chequered flag either. I had another go at it myself, but that turned out in a different way: I ended up in the tyre stacks. Fortunately, damage wasn’t too bad. That couldn’t be said about the penalty from the organisers.”

“Like the others, I was relegated to 19th and was given a fine of 4,000 Euros. One could say that that was an expensive lesson.”

In race one Coronel salvaged a tenth-placed finish, whilst in race two progress was also slow with many faster drivers starting in front and Coronel secured another tenth-placed finish – the ROAL Motorsport driver’s worst weekend of the season so far.

Summarising his races, Coronel admitted that he had enjoyed some close battles with other drivers and was fortunate to avoid several incidents along the way.

“Basically, it went all right, I could keep up, attack and gain positions,” added Coronel. “Towards the end [in race one], there was a crash involving several BMWs. I saw that coming, I braked hard and could avoid the mayhem. A tenth place and another world championship point.

“In the second race, my start was okay. In the early stages, I got somewhat stuck, because everybody was tangling with others. After that, I moved up into tenth place, but really had no way to keep up with Alex MacDowall. With Huff, however, I had no problems. I had a nice battle with him. Another tenth place and a point.”

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