Check out the latest video highlights brought to you by our great World Touring Car Championship friend, Tom Coronel, who qualified impressively ahead of today’s two races in the championship’s visit to Suzuka.
The Dutchman qualified his ROAL BMW fifth-fastest for the opening 23-lap race, and second-fastest on the partially-reversed grid for the second race.
Having spent five years in Japan during his days in Formula 3000 in the late 1990s, Coronel considers the country something of a second home, and he’ll no doubt be looking to deliver more strong results today.
And the FIA Stewards were kept extremely busy after qualifying, with a host of penalties and fines being handed out to teams and drivers for various infringements.
SUNRED rookie Pepe Oriola was hit with a five-place grid penalty after being forced to change his engine in his León 1.6T. The Spaniard qualified only 20th-fastest after crashing out in the first phase of qualifying on Saturday.
The Spaniard was also fined a total of €2,100 for three separate offences: speeding in the pit lane, crossing the pit exit blend line too early, and for improving his lap-times during yellow-flag conditions.
Meanwhile, former World Rally Championship driver Toshihiro Arai had his times disallowed when he failed to stop at the weighbridge. Arai’s best time – a 54.195s – was good enough for 16th-fastest in his maiden WTCC outing in the RML Chevrolet Cruze.
A further four drivers were issued with fines for different infringements committed on the Saturday’s running. Masaki Kano (Engstler / KK BMW) was fined €1,000 for ignoring the black-and-orange and black flags displayed to him in practice after he ignored instructions to turn on his headlights. His countryman Yukinori Taniguchi (Bamboo Chevrolet) was fined €1,500 for overtaking under yellow-flag conditions, while team-mate Darryl O’Young was fined €450 for speeding in the pit lane.
And Fabio Fabiani (Proteam BMW) earned himself the biggest sanction, with Stewards finally running out of patience with the Italian after repeatedly allowing him to start the races in 2011 despite failing to post a qualifying time within 107% of the quickest time of the session. Fabiani was fined some €4,000 for ignoring yellow, black-and-orange and black flags during the session, and they sensibly decided that the hopelessly slow driver would not be allowed to start today’s two races.