Budapest, 3 May, 2015 – The 4.381 kilometres long Hungaroring was the venue for the third race weekend of the 2015 FIA World Touring Car Championship. In spite of an unbelievable effort, the ROAL Motorsport team hadn't managed to get Tom Coronel's Chevrolet Cruze ready for the test held last week in preparation for the upcoming FIA WTCC round at the Nürburgring following the damage in Morocco.
Fortunately, repair of the DHL-yellow Cruze was ready in time for the Hungarian event, where the practice sessions were held in the rain. Tom Coronel started the first race from eighth place and finished tenth. The second race provided significantly more opportunities. From his third place on the grid, Coronel had an impeccable start and moved up into second place behind home favourite and the eventual race winner, Norbert Michelisz. The Dutchman defended his second place and thus stayed ahead of his ROAL team-mate Tom Chilton, who raced a Cruze with an engine update. The first podium finish of the season for FIA WTCC stalwart Tom Coronel also was a fantastic reward for the massive efforts by the ROAL Motorsport technicians in the last few weeks.
After the races, Tom Coronel was overjoyed: "It was pretty close in the end. The car was ready for a shakedown behind the safety car on Friday evening around half past six. Fortunately, everything worked well and I was confident for the sessions on Saturday. These took place on a soaked track, but that went well, too, and I was the fastest Chevrolet driver. I still had some fresh tyres left for the dry qualifying sessions. In the first heat, I was eleventh and later on, I ended up eighth. I could have done slightly better, because I still made a mistake. It is common knowledge that I always focus on the second race, because that offers more possibilities to move up based on the reversed grid. Normally, a top five result in qualifying is almost impossible for us. In race 1, I had a great start. I even was sixth for a while, but then, in a corner, I found Tiago Monteiro, a Citroën, Michelisz and my team-mate in my way. Later on, Huff slightly hit me and I dropped back to tenth. At least, that gave me my first WTCC championship point of the year. The start of the second race was probably even better than the first one. The Hondas are known to pull of good starts, but I could slot in right behind race leader Michelisz, just ahead of my team-mate Chilton. Michelisz pulled a slight gap and after the turbulent start, I could pull clear from my team-mate a little bit, too. After that, it was a rather dull race with only few battles. But at the end of the day, I don't care, because it is the result that counts. A nice trophy and valuable championship points are the result of this weekend. For the next race, I expect to be getting an engine with 2015 specifications like Valente and Chilton have already. That is nice, because the next race is at the Nürburgring. That is the race of all races, for which we could already test a little bit last week. I wasn't there for obvious reasons. Still, I am confident. I have done a couple of laps there and when the car is the same like this weekend, another success there could very well be on the cards."
Result race 1: 1.José-María López 13 laps in 24:11.868; 2 Yvan Muller +3.958 (both Citroën Racing C-Elysée); 3. Hugo Valente +10.290 (Chevrolet RML Cruze) ; 4. Ma Qing Hua +11.059 (Citroën Racing C-Elysée); 5. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC) +11.523; 6. Sébastien Loeb +14.102 (Citroën Racing C-Elysée) and 10. Tom Coronel +18.104 (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze).
Result race 2: 1.Norbert Michelisz 14 laps in 26:00.367 (Honda Civic WTCC); 2.Tom Coronel +7.103 (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze); 3. Tom Chilton +9.315 (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze); 4. Tiago Monteiro +10.176 (Honda Civic WTCC); 5. Sébastien Loeb +11.235 and 6. José María López +12.040 (both Citroën Racing C-Elysée).
FIA WTCC calendar 2015:
Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife), 15-16 May
Russia (Moscow Raceway), 5-7 June
Slovakia (Slovakia Ring), 19-21 June*
France (Paul Ricard), 26-28 June
Portugal (Vila Real), 10-12 July
Japan (Motegi), 11-13 September
China (Shanghai), 25-27 September
Thailand (Buriram), 30 October-1 November
Qatar (Losail), 20-22 November*
*subject to signing of the event promoter contract.
In the FIA WTCC 2015 season, Tom Coronel is being supported by: DHL, McGregor, Valvoline, TW Steel -big in oversized watches-, Eru Prestige, Equinix, Amando Face & Body Care, Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, De Wild Multi Print Solutions, Lesonal, Canvassite.nl, Allsecur, Playseat, Intrax, Super B, RSII and CM.