Marrakech race 2 and 3 touringcar action WTCR with Tom Coronel in the Cupra TCR
Marrakech race 2 and 3 touringcar action with Tom Coronel in the Cupra TCR
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First hard-fought championship points for Tom Coronel in 2019 FIA WTCR
Marrakesh, 7 April 2019 – The Circuit Moulay El Hassan in Moroccco hosted the opening round of the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) presented by Oscaro. Together with 25 drivers from 13 countries, Tom Coronel, who turned 47 years old on Friday, participated in the three races at the 2.971 kilometres long Marrakesh street circuit with his car, run by Belgian outfit Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing.
On Saturday afternoon, the drivers lined up on the grid for the start of the 18-lap first race. For Tom Coronel, it was over fairly soon after having been hit by a rival and crashed into the wall as a result. On Sunday, the Dutchman found a fully repaired CUPRA to take on qualifying for the second and third race. In part due to the extremely small gaps (almost the entire field within one second), this resulted into a pair of 16th grid positions. In the second race, things briefly seemed to be going wrong, but Tom Coronel managed to keep his CUPRA, sliding out to the maximum slip angle, in control and was able to continue. In the race that was extended to 20 laps, he took the chequered flag in 14th place. In race three, he had a good start, but he had another major sideways moment. Once again, this didn’t cause any trouble and he could race on. With some rivals following closely, the DHL driver managed to defend his 17th place for lap after lap. Issues for other drivers enabled him to move up three positions. The race finised behind the safety car and saw Tom Coronel score another 14th place and two further championship points, bringing his total to four.
“Once thing that became clear this weekend is that the differences between the drivers are even smaller than last year,” Tom Coronel starts his report. “In qualifying, it is now about tenths and sometimes even hundredths of a second. We are doing well, co-operation with the team is working fine and I am getting a better and better feeling with the CUPRA. A point where I can still improve a bit is getting the maximum out of the tyres when they are at their peak. Left-foot braking is going nicely and I was able to manage the brakes here very well. At a street circuit like this, brakes really are essential. I also have the impression that I can gain a little bit more at the start as well, so I still have some challenges for the next round. This really is a super competition with top-level drivers in which I am feeling really comfortable. I did have some bad luck in the first race after Bennani hit me 500 metres into the race and I ended up in the wall. Fortunately, damage wasn’t too bad, but my race was over. In the other two races on Sunday, I had a moment on several occasions, but I managed to keep the car in control and I was able to continue. In the final race, Rob Huff hit the rear bumper of my car several times, but he couldn’t get past. At the end of the third race, I also benefited from others making mistakes. Two point-scoring finishes is nice as well, but next time, I want to be further up in qualifying. We can do that and it is up to me to actually make it happen. I am looking forward to the races in Hungary.”
Result race 1 Marrakesh: 1) Esteban Guerrieri (Arg) Honda Civic TCR 18 laps in 26:18.929; 2. Thed Björk (Swe) Lynk & Co 03 TCR +0.638; 3. Nestor Girolami (Arg) Honda Civic TCR +2.181; 4. Gabriele Tarquini (Ita) Hyundai i30 N TCR +2.965; 5. Andy Priaulx (GrBr) Lynk & Co 03 TCR +4.298 and Tom Coronel (Nld) CUPRA TCR retired.
Race 2: 1. Gabriele Tarquini 20 laps in 31:45.772; 2. Jean-Karl Vernay (Fra) Audi RS3 LMS +3.317; 3. Yann Ehrlacher (Fra) Lynk & Co 03 TCR +3.991; 4. Estaban Guerrieri +4.514; 5. Mikel Azcona (Spa) Cupra TCR +4.669 and 14. Tom Coronel (Nld) +12.703.
Race 3: 1. Thed Björk 23 laps; 2. Frederic Vervisch (Bel) Audi RS3 LMS +0.680; 3. Mikel Azcona +3.039; 4. Esteban Guerrieri +6.182; 5. Gabriele Tarquini +10.174 and 14. Tom Coronel (Nld) +21.725.
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