ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel says that the rain at the Slovakiaring is the ‘worst he has ever seen’ and the Dutchman does not expect race two to be able to go ahead at present.
Coronel finished race one in fourth and was one of multiple drivers calling on the race to be stopped, with it eventually being red-flagged after nine laps. Coronel – who has been at every WTCC race since the series resumed in 2005 – says that the conditions are among the worst in the championship’s history.
“This is the worst I have ever seen,” said Coronel to TouringCars.Net about the weather. “If they say race, I will race, but it is too dangerous – it’s impossible. On the straights I just felt that the car was floating.”
“I was already talking to my engineer and I said this is not possible – I have aquaplaning, especially on the straights. Then I was trying to catch up with the safety car – even that was difficult. I understand the decision – it was ridiculous for us to stay out there in those conditions.”
With conditions not forecast to improve, Coronel does not see how race two can be held in what will be worse conditions than race one.
“I don’t believe we will race in race two,” said Coronel. “At the moment there are 2.7 mm of rain [forecast]. In the next three hours there will be 4.8 mm – which is almost double. It will only get worse.
“We will start behind the safety car and finish behind the safety car like we did now. First of all, we cannot make the start. Second of all we have so much spray you can’t see anything and third of all we don’t have the tyres to have this amount of water. So it’s impossible.
“When you drive behind the safety car you drive slowly, so you cannot get heat in the tyres and then the problem only gets worse.”
Coronel explains that the new TC1 cars are even harder to control in the wet due in part to the larger, wider tyres.
“Don’t forget that the tyres became bigger from 17 inch to 18 inch and wider, which is worse in the wet,” added Coronel. “You need thin tyres. These are the difficulties we have. I already said to my engineer if we want to race, you need to make ridiculous pressure inside [to make the tyre profile round]. The only way we can do well in these conditions is if we can make the water go away – forget the grip.”
Despite the conditions, Coronel was one of a few drivers to make a successful overtake in race one, passing team-mate Tom Chilton for fourth on lap four.
“It was for me the first time in the wet with the car and somehow I seemed to like it,” admitted the 42-year-old. “I was so impressed, because I said to the guys it’s the first time for me in the wet – I don’t know anything with the car in the wet, the tyres – I don’t know anything. I never drove this circuit in the wet.
“My speed was a lot better than his [Chilton’s] speed. Even in the first three laps I was on his tail and said ‘come on, where can I overtake him’. I was just making an idea for how, when and where I wanted to catch him. When I saw him going a little wide I said ‘OK, let’s try it here’ and he saw it, so that was it. I even thanked him for it. He said he didn’t let me by, I was just faster.”