ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel says that his results in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) season finale in Macau “reflect quite well where we were in the field” after he finished seventh and eighth respectively and amongst the best Chevrolet drivers.
On Saturday Coronel enjoyed only his second visit to Q3 of the season, although he would be unable to put in his best qualifying performance of the year. The Dutchman clipped the wall on his only lap and thus failed to post a time, leaving him fifth on the grid for race one and sixth for race two.
Indeed Coronel feels that he qualified ‘a little too well’ for the confines of Macau, despite his brush with the wall, leaving him to start in the middle of the top ten for both races.
“It all went well and, in fact, even a little bit too well in qualifying,” admitted Coronel. “Of course, setting the fourth fastest time in a field like this is great, but it isn’t that good for the starting grid positions. When you are a little bit further down on the grid for race one, you automatically are a bit further up to the front on the reversed grid for the second race.
“In order to shine at this circuit, you have to be further up at the front for one of the races, especially when there aren’t too many strange things happening during the race.
“In third qualifying, I was fast, but I clipped the wall. Damage was minimal, but I didn’t want to take any further risk. The team was happy with the performance and with the way things were going until then.”
Coronel lost out at the very start in race one, dropping two positions to finish in seventh and spending much of the race stuck behind the Citroëns of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb.
“In the first race, my start was quite good, but I was locked up alongside Yvan Muller and I had to back off, allowing him to get in front of me,” explained Coronel. “Later on, he also made a mistake at Lisboa and made me lose some more time. After that, I was more or less on my own for the remainder of the race and I managed to bring the car home without any damage.”
Race two again saw Coronel battling with a Citroën, this time of Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua. In the end Ma would try too hard to pass Coronel, planting his car in the barriers at the final corner in the process.
“I didn’t have a good start in race two and there was some contact with Loeb,” said Coronel. “The Citroëns really are fast. Chinese driver Ma, also with a Citroën, was right behind me. He mounted an attack and we hit each other. To still get that position, he tried to out-brake me where it was absolutely impossible and he went head-on into the tyre stacks at speed. After that, there was not so much left anymore for me to fight for.”
Thus Coronel ends the season with a solid pair of results which summarise his season – with no wins, but the Dutchman still ends the year as the top Chevrolet driver in the championship.
“A seventh and an eighth place reflect quite well where we were in this year’s field,” reflected Coronel. “The world championship standings also show this. All in all, there is plenty of reason to be happy, especially when considering that we also were forced to miss races following that massive shunt on the first race weekend of the season. Moreover, I am happy that I was on the grid in 2014. Now, I will be working hard for next season!”