Tom Coronel says it was a ‘weekend to forget’ in Argentina, after the ROAL Motorsport driver finished outside the points in both World Touring Car Championship races at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit.
Coronel struggled throughout the weekend, only managing the 14th fastest time in Friday testing – slower than any other Chevrolet driver. Things barely improved on Saturday either, with the Dutchman 14th in first practice and 16th in second practice, where he also suffered a fire on his car.
Having struggled in qualifying, Coronel ended up in 11th on the grid for both races, which is where he would go on to finish in both of Sunday’s races, enduring his worst weekend in the WTCC since the season opener in Morocco.
“This was a weekend to forget as quickly as possible,” said Coronel. “Just like last year, we couldn’t get it done here. Of course, the car has 40 kilograms of additional weight, but that wasn’t the only problem. We were always looking for more speed and the right balance.
“It was difficult, especially in a field in which the margins are so small. Even with fresh tyres, we were slightly off the pace. 14th place in free practice isn’t good, and after that, we had that turbo fire. There wasn’t much we could do about that, but it cost extra time. On top of that, it was really hot here.
“In qualifying, I tried everything, but it just didn’t work out. I was seven hundredths of a second shy of tenth place, which would have put me on pole for race two.”
Coronel cited a lack of top speed as a significant problem hampering his progress in the races. Indeed all six Chevrolet drivers struggled in the races, with only Tom Chilton finishing inside the points in race one, and Dušan Borković in race two (although the Serb was later excluded).
“The lack of top speed meant that I wasn’t able to attack,” explained Coronel. “I was defending all the time.
“On the final corner [of race one], I made a mistake and Thompson benefited and I finished eleventh.
“In the second race, I had a good start and moved up one place. The Citroëns kept pushing, so that I ended up on the grass and almost the entire field got past. After that, I still made up a bit, but I finished eleventh again and didn’t score any points.
“That is not what we came here for. This wasn’t my weekend. Now, we have a seven weeks’ break and then the Asian part of the series starts. That part of the world is usually kind to me, so let’s stay confident that we can continue our progress from Spa there.”