Santiago del Estero, August 3, 2014 – The 4.8 kilometres long Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina is considered as a technical and challenging circuit. That is what 42-year old Tom Coronel found out during the eighth season round of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The ROAL Motorsport driver was classified 14th in first free practice and wasn't able to improve in the second session due to a turbo fire. In first qualifying, Tom Coronel was tenth, which made him hopeful for a good position on the reversed starting grid for the second race. In spite of fresh tyres late in the second session, he was eleventh. That made it difficult to score top results in the two races and scoring maximum points was his goal. After several thrilling position fights with other Chevrolet Cruze drivers and Lada driver James Thompson, Coronel had his eyes set on tenth place and the world championship point that comes with it. At the finish line, however, Thompson overtook him and claimed that final point with a margin of one hundredth of a second. In the second race, Coronel had a good start and moved up one place right away. Thus, he got involved in the direct fight with various drivers and eventually lost five places in the battle. He kept damage limited by working his way up again in the remainder of the race, but another eleventh place was all he managed. Therefore, Tom Coronel scored no world championship points and remains at a total of 99 points in seventh place of the world championship standings.
After the races, Tom Coronel said: "This was a weekend to forget as quickly as possible. Just like last year, we couldn't get it done here. Of course, the car has 40 kilograms of additional weight, but that wasn't the only problem. We were always looking for more speed and the right balance. It was difficult, especially in a field in which the margins are so small. Even with fresh tyres, we were slightly off the pace. 14th place in free practice isn't good, and after that, we had that turbo fire. There wasn't much we could do about that, but it cost extra time. On top of that, it was really hot here. In qualifying, I tried everything, but it just didn't work out. I was seven hundredths of a second shy of tenth place, which would have put me on pole for race two. The lack of top speed meant that I wasn't able to attack. I was defending all the time. On the final corner, I made a mistake. Thompson benefited and I finished eleventh. In the second race, I had a good start and moved up one place. The Citroëns kept pushing, so that I ended up on the grass and almost the entire field got past. After that, I still made up a bit, but I finished eleventh again and didn't score any points. That is not what we came here for. This wasn't my weekend. Now, we have a seven weeks' break and then the Asian part of the series starts. That part of the world is usually kind to me, so let's stay confident that we can continue our progress from Spa there."
Result race 1: 1. José Maria Lopez (Citroën Racing C-Elysee) 13 laps in 23:10.174 2. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC) +2.526; 3. Yvan Muller +3.271; 4. Sébastien Loeb +7,613 (both Citroën Racing C-Elysee); 5. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC) +8,871 and 11. Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze) +25.272.
Result race 2: 1. José Maria Lopez (Citroën Racing C-Elysee) 13 laps in 22:16.716; 2. Rob Huff (Lada Granta 1.6 T) +1.863; 3. Yvan Muller (Citroën Racing C-Elysee) +2,896; 4. Gabriele Tarquini +5.311; 5. Tiago Monteiro (both Honda Civic WTCC) +5,893 and 11. Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze) +22.790.
Standings after 16 races: 1. José Maria Lopez 310 points; 2. Yvan Muller 250; 3. Sébastien Loeb 215; 4. Tiago Monteiro 146; 5. Gabriele Tarquini 121 and 7. Tom Coronel 99.
2014 FIA WTCC calendar*
China October 4-5
China October 11-12
Japan October 25-26
Macau November 14-16
(*subject to change)
In the FIA WTCC 2014 season, Tom Coronel is being supported by:
ROAL Motorsport, McGregor, TW Steel -big in oversized watches-, Valvoline, DHL, Equinix, Amando Face & Body Care, AkzoNobel Lesonal, De Wild Multi Print Solutions, AllSecur, ATP Event Experts, Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, Super B, Intrax, Playseat, CM, Sparco en Uw Mooiste Foto.nl.