Tom Coronel endured a difficult brace of races in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the Moscow Raceway, with the Dutchman summarising that “everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong”.
Coronel was lacking pace from the very start of the weekend, with the Chevrolet driver just 15th in Friday testing and 16th quickest in Saturday’s two practice sessions respectively.
“From the moment we arrived here, the car simply didn’t run,” explained Coronel. “We literally changed everything: springs, shock absorbers and roll-bars. You name it, really everything, but nothing worked.”
Having struggled for pace in qualifying, where the ROAL Motorsport driver ended up 14th, things failed to improve in the races for Coronel. A high speed spin on the opening lap of race one due to contact with compatriot Jaap van Lagen put paid to any hopes of a points finish for Coronel on a circuit where overtaking has always been a challenge. Van Lagen later received an official warning for the incident.
“In the first race, my start was OK and I battled with Jaap van Lagen with his LADA on the opening lap,” explained Coronel. “I overtook him on the inside of a right-hand corner and I looked whether I had already passed him. It seemed that way, but it wasn’t fully the case. As a result, we tangled, I spun and I was all the way down in 17th place.
“I couldn’t even keep up with Belgian driver [Grégoire] Demoustier. One lap before the end, I drove into the pits to have the set-up on the front axle changed once again by the mechanics. Things we hadn’t touched up to that point.”
Race two saw Coronel improve from 14th on the grid to tenth, taking a valuable point in the process. The experienced touring car driver put that down to the changes made to the car at the end of race one.
“In the second race, [the changes] turned out to be the right move, because the feeling was there again, I had more speed and I was able to compete. But coming from 14th place on the grid, it is always difficult to compete for a top position.
“After everything that happened this weekend, that tenth place felt like the maximum I could achieve. It is clear that this result is giving us some confidence again for the races to come.”
Summarising his weekend, Coronel expressed his frustration at the bad luck he seemed to receive throughout the trip to Russia.
“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. We were down in terms of lap times and the car was by no means consistent. We also had a broken turbo charger hose, a shock absorber broke and all these things added up. It was really bad for all of us, because we didn’t really know where to find a solution.”