World Touring Car Championship veteran Tom Coronel has shown off the livery with which he will compete this year with ROAL Motorsport for a fourth successive season.
However, it will be the 41-year-old Dutchman’s first time racing a Chevrolet RML Cruze. Having been a BMW stalwart since he joined ROAL Motorsport in 2011, Coronel found himself in limbo as the 2014 season approached: either campaign the underpowered and overweight BMW 320TC in the second-tier TC2 championship category, or find himself a competitive TC1-class seat elsewhere.
A late deal between ROAL and RML saved the day, with the latter allocating two of its six brand new cars to Robert Ravaglia’s team. The second Cruze will be driven by former RML driver Tom Chilton.
Coronel has kept the same principal Dutch flag colour scheme that he has run since he joined ROAL, with sponsorship from the likes of McGregor, TW Steel, DHL and Valvoline, but you’d have to agree that it looks pretty good on the ultra aggressive fairings sported by the new Cruze.
While teammate Chilton – by dint of securing his deal earlier – is already testing his new mount, Coronel is unlikely to get little more than a short shakedown run before the equipment is shipped south for the season-opening round at Morocco next month – his car is still being built.
“Of course it is unfortunate not being able to put the first miles on the ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet in Valencia this week, to get used to the car, but it is what it is,” Coronel said.
“Only days ago RML finished production of the first two cars based on the new TC1 specs and my chassis will probably not be ready before the end of next week. (At the) beginning of April I will most likely drive the first metres in the car as part of a short shakedown at the Adria track.
“After that the car will immediately be transported to Morocco, where the first WTCC races for the 2014 season will take place. A tight schedule, but there is no other option. I’m already really satisfied that I will at least compete in the WTCC this year, again with ROAL Motorsport and with the car that won the championship the past couple of years, now in the new TC1 specification, which means an increased output to 380hp (+80 hp), new technology, a wider appearance and more aerodynamics. I would really like to thank my existing and new sponsors for their support to make this happen.”
Images via Tom Coronel