After a brilliant set of results at the previous event, fan-favourite Tom Coronel arrived at the Hungaroring as a genuine contender for the 2020 World Touring Car Cup (WTCR). However, a terrible qualifying session means that he’ll have to fight hard on Sunday to retain that status.
Having won his first race at this level since 2016 last time out, Coronel left Slovakia in second place in the drivers’ championship standings, a position that few pundits would’ve predicted at the start of the year.
Unfortunately though, the positivity within his side of the DHL Comtoyou Racing garage has quickly been replaced by disappointment, following a difficult qualifying session in Hungary.
The Dutchman had struggled in comparison to his team-mates in the earlier practice sessions anyway, but his woes seemed to be compounded further as the day progressed.
Failing to make it through the first elimination round of qualifying, Coronel could do no better than nineteenth in a field of twenty-two cars.
As such, Yann Ehrlacher’s nearest points challenger will start from the penultimate row of the grid for both races two and three, being boosted up one place to eighteenth for race one due to Tiago Monteiro’s grid penalty.
After the session, Coronel revealed that he had been battling with mechanical gremlins throughout Saturday, attributing his lack of pace to a fundamental issue with the car.
“Very difficult session. I had a lot of difficulties with the front of the car, I could not even look at the throttle and already it would wash out.” he explained.
“[There was a] clutch difficulty, so I couldn’t put the lap time [together]. I’m very disappointed, [it was] very, very, very bad. No bite, no grip, it was very, very, very shitty.
“We suppose that it’s the differential which is broken, it also was in the last race, but it seems to be the clutch and the differential which seems to be done.”
Coronel and the Comtoyou Racing squad will be hopeful of fixing the problem ahead of tomorrow’s three races, but the Dutchman certainly has a big task on his hands from the back of the grid.
It’s another early start to proceedings tomorrow, with the opening race set to begin at 09:15 CEST (08:15 BST).