World Touring Car Championship front-runner Tom Coronel had a challenging first-ever appearance at the Slovakia Ring last weekend on the series’ maiden visit to the Eastern European country, with the Dutchman enduring a tough qualifying session and a time penalty in Race 1.
The 50-year-old failed for make the second round of qualifying for the first time this season – a fact he blamed on the team’s poor pit-lane position, costing him valuable track position – and started both ten-laps races in twelfth position.
After making a quick start in Race 1, Coronel found himself caught in a midfield scrap and hit fellow BMW runner Franz Engstler, which led to the German’s retirement from the race. Despite managing to finish in the points on the road, Coronel was hit with a thirty-second time penalty by the stewards for causing the collision.
Race 2 was his last opportunity to redeem himself, and he made his now-customary excellent getaway and was quickly up in the top-five placings, driving a clean and uneventful race to finish fourth and claim ten valuable championship points.
Comparatively low-scoring rounds for the works Chevrolet drivers helped to limit the damage in the championship race, and Coronel still lies fourth in the points’ standings, 50 points behind series leader Yvan Muller.
Let’s have a look at the two races from Tom’s perspective…