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Tom Coronel ‘really puzzled’ with poor Japanese performance

ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel admits he was ‘really puzzled’ with his lack of pace in the wet World Touring Car Championship races in Japan, where he finished outside the points in both races.

Coronel struggled for pace throughout the weekend, where every session was once again held in the wet, qualifying his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet in 14th position for both races.

The Dutchman was unable to make any significant progress in the Opening Race, where he eventually finished in 13th after struggling with chronic understeer.

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The Main Race offered few opportunities for Coronel to progress, with only four green flag laps before the race was red-flagged due to the conditions.

“I am really puzzled,” admitted Coronel. “Of course, these conditions were special in every way and something I have never experienced before; [it was] really bizarre. But conditions were the same for everybody and things were going reasonably well in free practice.

“With more water on the track, however, we are unable to get things done the right way. I had no grip from the front wheels whatsoever and I was aquaplaning all the time.

“Together with the team, we really tried everything related to the set-up, but we just couldn’t get it done. In the first race, that became apparent straight away. I really had the impression that I was in a different class; I was seconds down.”

Coronel, who has twice previously won in Japan, was disappointed to struggle so much in a place which he considered to be his ‘second home’.

“Everyone who knows me will understand that there was nothing I could do. Here in Japan, the country where I have enjoyed so much success and where I know so many people, I wanted to show what I am capable of after all.

“But there was just no way to get the car to turn. I have never, ever driven a car with such terrible handling.

“In the second race, there was even more rain falling down and to make things even worse, the power steering failed on the second lap. Thus, it was a real struggle and I was glad that the race was red-flagged, something really unusual for me. Normally, I want to race, no matter what. But not like this.

“A pair of 13th places, the unlucky number, says it all. But now, we will try to work out with the team what we can still do for the two remaining FIA WTCC meetings this season. I still want to get a ‘moment of fame’. Let’s hope that it will be dry at least!”

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