Series returnee Tom Coronel said that seeing winner Mikel Azcona making the decision to run on slicks in the race ‘was a pity’.
Coronel, who had also started in second position before getting the better of Mehdi Bennani early in the race, couldn’t keep the fast-charging Azcona behind and he was overtaken by the Spaniard on the penultimate lap.
“It was a close one,” said the Boutsen Ginion Racing driver. “I was leading until the last few laps and at one point I had a lead of something like four or five seconds.
“Azcona made the right decision with the slick tyres; he got the heat into them and at the end I could see him catching me quite easily.
“That was a pity, but it was one of those strategies; you choose the rain tyre and you make good distance in the beginning so you’re out of trouble.”
The Dutchman found himself out in front for the majority of the nine-lap race, and he went on to explain how his race unfolded.
“At the start I saw Filippi next to me in the first corner and I thought it was going to be interesting,” added Coronel.
“Then I overtook Bennani on the inside at Pouhon, then it was the Safety Car.
“After the restart I built a gap, but then I could see Azcona catching me. I couldn’t understand why he had so much grip until I saw he had slicks. You never know here in Spa – dry, wet, dry, wet, so there’s an option for everyone.
“I think we did well, we had some difficulties yesterday but finally we had a good Qualifying where I took some risks with the tyres.
“I am very, very happy with the result; we needed this for the European championship with the Honda.”
Coronel will be hoping to continue his fine return to TCR Europe action in tomorrows race two at Spa, which gets underway at 11:50 CEST (10:50 BST).