ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel has blamed Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini for their clash in the second World Touring Car Championship race in Russia, which meant that the Dutchman could only finish in 14th position.
As Coronel attempted to pass Tarquini for what was then third on the fourth lap of the race the two made contact, pitching Coronel’s BMW across the front of Tarquini’s Honda and into James Thompson’s LADA. Coronel was able to continue, but dropped down to 18th and out of contention.
“After the standing start of race two, I first had to deal with the Lada that was on front of me,” explained coronel. “There was some contact, but I managed to stay off the wall and I found some opportunities to move up through the ranks on the first few laps. Once I was in third place, I ran wide in one corner, which allowed Tarquini and Thompson, but also Muller and Huff, to close up.
“We were racing down the straight four abreast, later on even five abreast. At the end of the straight, I was slightly hit by Tarquini for the umpteenth time in this race and I went off the track, taking Thompson with me. Some people claimed that I had turned in, but footage showed that that wasn’t the case. I was hit once again. Bad luck and a pity, because I lost out on my second podium finish of the weekend.”
Despite the incident, Coronel felt that his weekend was generally good, having earlier finished second in race one. The three-time race winner narrowly missed out on beating Yvan Muller to the win and had to settle for his second podium of the season.
“I had quite a good weekend,” admitted Coronel. “In the end, things didn’t exactly go the way I wanted, but that is also the risk when you are driving a tad more aggressively.
“This track suits the car and myself and that showed, because we were among the front runners throughout the weekend. Together with the team, I decided to put a fresh set of tyres on for that race. The start went well, but the safety car was deployed fairly soon and the race was even stopped later on, because one of the towing cranes had got stuck at an unsafe position.
“My tyres had passed their maximum performance level and yellow flags were out at the end of the main straight for the remainder of the race. I never had a real chance to overtake Muller. He is clever, he keeps the door closed and overtaking him was simply impossible. So I settled for second place, a podium finish and a good point-score in the world championship.”