The risks of combining an all-new set of technical regulations, a limited spare parts supply, and a street circuit season-opener a week before the second championship round became all too apparent at last weekend’s World Touring Car Championship races in Morocco.
After sustaining massive damage to his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet in a start line accident on Sunday’s second race, Tom Coronel has withdrawn from this weekend’s round at Paul Ricard, with the team unable to repair the battered car in time.
The Dutch driver was pinballed into the barriers just seconds into Sunday’s second race after contact with fellow front-row starter Mehdi Bennani. The accident saw Coronel’s RML-designed Cruze suffer heavy front and rear damage, with the smash also involving the Citroën of reigning champion Yvan Muller.
The crash-laden weekend also saw Gabriele Tarquini’s Honda forced to withdraw from qualifying and both races after he suffered damage in a practice accident with Gianni Morbidelli, however the Italian is expected to take part in a new car.
This weekend’s round will see a field of 18 cars – 15 TC1 class entries and three TC2T runners – take part in the series’ first hit-out at the Le Castellet circuit. Also missing in action is the second Campos Racing SEAT León TC2T class racer that was piloted last weekend by Czech racer Petr Fulín, which will be entered on a race-by-race basis.
Images via Automobilsport and XPB Images