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Tom Coronel: “If you can see, you can at least fight”

Tom Coronel spent most of the first World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race fighting amongst a hoard of bright blue Cyan Racing cars. Although he couldn’t keep the factory-supported drivers behind, Coronel would still go on to chalk up a respectable fifth place finish at the infamous Nürburgring.

The opening round of the season at Zolder marked a resurgence of form for the charismatic Dutchman, and that pattern seems set to continue around the Nordschleife.

After hopping from a Honda in 2018 to a CUPRA in 2019, 2020 marks his third different car in three years, following the DHL Comtoyou Racing team’s switch to Audi power. Having had a difficult couple of seasons behind the wheel of the two prior vehicles, something finally seems to have clicked for the former WTCC independents’ champion.

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Coronel himself attributes his upturn in results to the support that Audi’s customer racing division provided during the off-season.

“You know, we are in a privateer outfit with Comtoyou and [we are] an Audi customer and they were helping a lot with the winter testing,” he explained. “If you can see you can at least fight, breath down their neck and put a little pressure on at some points. That’s good for the outfit we are in.

“Of course, I would like to win but you also have to be realistic. But the next race I will try again.”

Coronel gave the Cyan Racing crew a good run for their money, but ultimately he didn’t quite have enough to keep them at bay.

“There were a few points where I could make a little gap, but I was really concentrating on myself and Yvan,” he recalled.

“I felt ‘OK, the gap is bigger’, then I looked in my mirror and Thed [Björk] was in my ass. So OK, probably that was not fast enough.

“There are some interesting parts I should look back on the video, but I thought the speed was good, everything was alright, [however] there were some dodgy moments where it was very tricky on the straight.

“I could see the Lynk & Cos were very fast, so they could get my draft really well. But Thed was fair, really fair. I could see it was coming at some stage and I saw directly Yann [Ehrlacher] moving with him, so I could not close the gap completely.

“We were side by side for a corner, but we know each other very well so it should be OK. Everybody wants to finish at the beginning of the season, the fights are a little bit more clean than in the end. But [we scored] good points and I’m happy to be fifth here at the Nordschleife.”

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