Pole sitter Tom Coronel hoping for “good fight” in TCR Europe opener
Race 1 pole sitter Tom Coronel says he is hoping for a “good fight” in the opening TCR Europe series encounter of the season after edging a tight qualifying session.
The Comtoyou Racing driver beat 2018 champion Mikel Azcona to pole by just over a tenth of a second despite a valiant effort from his Cupra León Competición rival in the closing seconds of Q2.
Coronel, who has an impressive strike rate at the Slovakiaring, accepted that while he has form at the circuit, the competition seen in practice and qualifying so far is set to continue into the first race of the season this afternoon.
“I hope we will have a good fight with all the guys,” Coronel said post-qualifying.
“I love a fight, and I always say that I would rather come second with a big fight and a big smile than win by 10 seconds because [the latter’s] boring.”
“[As for] predictions,” he sighed”, “this is TCR.”
Coronel’s Q2 performance was slightly off sequence to the rest of the field, having been one of the last cars to leave the pits. He was made to wait until Azcona, the last to post a time at the end of qualifying, to make sure of pole position, something he wasn’t able to check due to a faulty onboard lap counter.
“I didn’t know where the others were, and I pushed to the limit. It was one of those days where you thought ‘argh, what’s happening” and I went out later than the others to see what lap-times they were doing but I didn’t know because my lap timer wasn’t working,” Coronel added.
“So, I really didn’t know where I was [on the timing]. I was like: ‘where am I, where am I?’ and they told me ‘very nice, P1’ and I even overshot on the infield [after my lap] so, very nice.”
The Audi driver has a lot of experience at the Slovakiaring from his World Touring Car Championship days but believes his tyre management skills have played a part in his success over the years.
“I don’t know why, but this circuit always suits me,” he said.
“In testing I have always been the fastest. I like the circuit; the circuit is good to me. It’s good on eating the tyres with the car so you have to be gentle at the right points and I think I did that without any big mistakes, so I’m very happy. The start of the season has started very well, first race of the season, pole position.”
Race 1 is scheduled to start at 15:15 CET.