Why WTCR racer Coronel put Max Verstappen first
Tom Coronel sacrificed the chance to score more TCR Europe points to make sure he was close by when Max Verstappen won the Dutch Grand Prix yesterday.
Coronel finished fifth in the first of two TCR Europe races at the Nürburgring in Germany on Saturday, but his extensive broadcasting commitments meant he had to forgo taking part in Sunday’s counter at the wheel of his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS.
“I racked up a lot of mileage, all driving by myself,” Coronel said following his run to fifth on Saturday. “These were valuable points, but of course, I didn’t want to miss Formula One at Zandvoort either.”
With Formula One returning to his native Netherlands for the first time since 1985, the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup race winner was anxious not to miss out and turned commuter to honour his numerous commitments.
“On Thursday, I had the Formula 1 Café TV show and on Friday as well, but in between also the free practice sessions at the Nürburgring on Friday,” Coronel explained. “That meant I was already on the road for the Nürburgring at 05h00 on Friday. The free practice sessions went well, we ended up fourth and fifth. After that [it was] back to The Netherlands for the Formula 1 Café show at Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk and then back to the Nürburgring once more.
“Qualifying on Saturday morning with the second-fastest time in Q1 and sixth place in Q2. That put me sixth on the grid as the fastest Audi driver. I thought that we could have ended up a little bit further up, but it turned out that the Audis were lacking a little bit of speed.”
Of his Race 1 performance, Coronel said: “There were several battles going on in front of me, but I wasn’t quite able to close up. Eventually, [Isidro] Callejas, who had started from pole, locked up under braking following a slight mistake on the final lap. That enabled me to overtake him on the inside at the Dunlop corner and that is how I finished in fifth. After that, I immediately got into my camper and drove back to The Netherlands where I had to do a presentation for DHL at Schiphol Airport on Saturday evening and another one on Sunday morning in a beach club in Zandvoort.”
Coronel’s activities at Zandvoort were the reason why he was a non-starter in Sunday’s second TCR Europe counter.
“Such a historic moment at Zandvoort is something I don’t want to miss, of course, especially when Max is going to win it,” Coronel said in the build-up to the Dutch Grand Prix where he was on duty for Dutch TV station Ziggo alongside Robert Doornbos and Rob Kamphues.