The second TCR Europe weekend, at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet in southern France, went even better, as Tom Coronel took his first win of the season with the Audi RS 3 LMS in DHL livery, used by Comtoyou Racing.
With pole position, start-finish victory and the fastest race lap, Coronel even turned it into a flawless hat trick. In the second race, Coronel was engaged in exciting duels, after which he was eventually classified fifth. Tom Coronel started the TCR Europe Series season well with third place in the second race on the opening weekend in Portimão.
Coronel started the weekend well with good rankings in the free practice sessions: second in the first session, sixth in the second practice. “Sometimes you get into the car and then you have the feeling: ‘Wait a minute, this just feels a thousand percent good’, and I immediately had that feeling with the track and the car,” Coronel said. “We had already tested here, which certainly made a difference, but I also had a much better feeling as a whole. I have a different seat: instead of in a tub I had a seat foamed, so it was completely customised, like in a formula car. That makes me feel more. In terms of set-up, we largely kept to that of the test day and I could already see from the sector times that it was going well.”
In the first qualifying Coronel, like several others, saw a lap time cut. “In the end I was seventh, but I knew it could go much faster and we were in a good position,” he said. That became clear in the second qualification. “We made some adjustments with the tires and that really made it a bit faster. The car went into 4 wheel drift nicely, but it just worked, it stayed on the track! That was really a hit! With that I took pole position.” For Coronel it was his second pole position in the TCR Europe Series after last year’s Slovakia Ring race.
“The race itself was perhaps a bit boring,” Coronel acknowledged after the race. “I had a really good start, with Josh Files holding up, giving me a tiny bit of air. And then right from turn 1, where Jelmini went a bit sideways, I was able to make a gap, which I was able to keep for the whole race. At the end I was a little more careful because of the tires, but I won the touring car race without any problems and that is really cool!”
Coronel also got away well in the second race. “I took a spot right away, although I did get a knock in the first corner, which caused me to lose a bit of speed, but then I was able to drive further forward. I had a really cool braking maneuver on Callejas, then was able to overtake my team-mate Girolami and then battle with Oriola for third place. He hit me on the rear wheel, forcing me to cut off the chicane. We came out side by side, but the team instructed me to let him go first in order to avoid a possible penalty for cutting. With that, Girolami passed it again, but with fifth place I also scored good points. Again I was the fastest in the field, the car was very good and it ran great!”
Coronel will be back in action next weekend, then during both races of the FIA WTCR as support for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. “Certainly after this success, I will go there with an extra good feeling,” he says. “Last year I was the fastest Audi driver there and we also tested there over the winter, which went very well. Some corners that I’ve never been able to take full throttle in the 20 years I’ve raced there, now went full throttle. So I’m really looking forward to it. I do know that I have to stay sharp, because too much self-confidence, that is a ‘Tommy pitfall’, but if I can keep the balance well, then we will burn again at the Nürburgring!”
Tom Coronel is supported by: DHL, Eurol Lubricants, Tricorp Workwear, ERU Prestige, Ireckonu, Business Data Challengers, Bouwgroep Dijkstra Draisma, Patina, Oranjedak, Intrax Suspension Technology, API-4-BRANDS, ASC Group, P1 Advanced Racewear, Australian Footwear , Super B, FEBO, CM and Copernica.
TCR Europe & FIA WTCR 2022 calendar
May 26 – 28, Nürburgring Nordschleife, Germany (WTCR)
June 11 – 12, Hungaroring, Hungary (WTCR)
June 18 – 19, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (TCR)
June 25 – 26, Motorland Aragon, Spain (WTCR)
July 2 – 3, Norisring, Germany (TCR)
July 2 – 3, Portugal Vila Real (WTCR)
July 23 – 24, Italy Autodromo Vallelunga (WTCR)
August 6 – 7, Anneau du Rhin, France (WTCR)
August 27 – 28, Nürburgring, Germany (TCR)
September 23 – 25, Monza ENI Circuit, Italy (TCR)
October 08 – 09, Inje Speedium, South Korea (WTCR)
October 15 – 16, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain (TCR)
Nov 5 – 6, Ningbo, China (WTCR)
November 18 – 20, Circuito Da Guia, Macau (WTCR)
images by Joao Filipe