Despite a switch to BMW and a host of new technical regulations entering the Tom Coronel is gunning for podium finishes in 2011championship, Tom Coronel is confident that he and the ROAL Motorsport team will be contenders for podium finishes when the 2011 World Touring Car Championship season kicks off in late March.

The Dutchman is a touring car veteran with SEAT and has a sole WTCC win to his name, and now finds himself switching to BMW power for the first time in his WTCC career.

After recently completing a two-day test session with the team at Italy’s Vallelunga circuit, Coronel is optimistic he can achieve solid results, despite the change in car and switch to a turbocharged engine requiring him to adapt his driving style.

“This test made me very optimist for the season. I am confident that with the combination we have I will be fighting for podium results,” he said.

“[The turbo engine requires] a drastic change in the driving style, especially because in the last six years I raced front-wheel drive cars. When the turbo kicks in you suddenly have a lot more power and find yourself drifting out of the corners,” he added.

Of concern is that the excessive sliding of the car will wear out the series’ control Yokohama tyres, and this too creates further set-up headaches for Coronel.

“This is not good for the tyres, so we have to find a set up that is conservative with them. You have to work on lower revs and listen carefully to the engine; on the other hand you can brake into the corners and be more aggressive with the throttle.”

  Tom Coronel 
This isn’t Coronel’s first time behind the wheel of BMW machinery in touring cars. The Dutchman raced BMWs in the European Touring Car series.

Happy in his new environment, Coronel is also thrilled to be working alongside the multiple touring car champion, Roberto Ravaglia, the Italian team boss of the ROAL Motorsport outfit, which fielded a manufacturer-backed BMW team until the end of the 2009 season, and is making its WTCC return this year with a single-car team.

“I was impressed by the team. They are very professional and focusing on my car only. And furthermore, as a former driver, Roberto Ravaglia understands motor racing. And I really can feel this.”

[Original images via Flickr]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.