The Italian ROAL Motorsport squad has confirmed it has not only retained the services of Tom Coronel for the 2012 World Touring Car Championship season, but that it will also expand to a two-car operation, fielding nineteen-year-old rookie Alberto Cerqui alongside the Dutch veteran.
Cerqui moves across from ROAL’s International Superstars Series team after finishing as the highest-placed of ROAL’s three drivers in the championship last year, on top of winning the Italian Superstars championship crown.
Meanwhile Coronel – who claimed one win in 2011 and finished ‘best of the rest’ behind the all-conquering works Chevrolets – will remain at the squad for a second season, after he switched to BMW power last year following many years of service with SEAT.
“There have been years in which I didn’t know what I was going to do that early in the season already”, said Coronel of the announcement.
“Of course, we are looking back on a great year during which there was a significant upward trend in performance. We have scored one race win and ended up fourth in the championship behind the three works-Chevrolets.
Together with ROAL Motorsport, we have made progress in the championship. In the early stages, it was a matter of getting to know each other, then you have the time in which it all fits together and the results follow as a matter of course.
“From previous experience, I know that the first year is always about sowing and then you can reap in the following year. It was that way for me in Formula 3, in Formula Nippon and in Japanese GTs. I am hoping for that in the FIA WTCC with ROAL Motorsport, too, but I am well aware that it is certainly not going to be easy. More (semi-works) teams have been announced who will also be potential winners. But I am relying on our own strengths. It is important to be competitive and to score points from the very first race onwards.
“Of course, I am hoping for more victories,” he continued. “For the upcoming season, the team will be identical to last year. I will continue to work with Pietro, my regular engineer. For 2012, we can benefit from the experience we have acquired last year and work more on the ‘fine-tuning’ of things. I am really looking forward to it: a great car, a great team and a great season!”
“I am extremely satisfied [to be] lining up two cars in the WTCC 2012,” added ROAL team owner Roberto Ravaglia.
“It is not going to be easy to repeat the very good results scored in 2011 but I am confident and motivated by the presence of two drivers like Tom Coronel and Alberto Cerqui. Tom will give experience and reliability to the team, while Alberto is a young promising driver that showed in 2011 his talent and skill in adapting rapidly to new circuits.”