Photo: Ida Wood

Coronel “didn’t feel any pressure” but wary of puncture risk en route to Pau win

Comtoyou Racing and their fleet of Audi RS 3 LMS IIs set the pace in TCR Europe Race 2 in Pau, but the team spent the race wary of punctures.

Tom Coronel claimed victory, and his regular team-mates finished third, fourth and seventh. The last of that trio, Viktor Davidovski, was actually the fastest driver on track and chasing Coronel for the win until a puncture ruined his race.

That left Coronel with a big lead, before Target Competition’s Dušan Borković got into second place and started closing in. He finished 0.566 seconds behind after laps of filling Coronel’s mirrors, but the winner was adamant “I didn’t feel any pressure”.

“I saw I was faster in the last sector, as he always saw, so I was only concentrating on the exit of the last corner,” Coronel told TouringCarTimes.

“In the middle of the race my team-mate got the tyre broken. So I said ‘oh shit!’, so I slowed down the pace. And I could feel some understeer, so I was like ‘oaoooooah, I have to control it’.

“Last year also my team-mate [Nathanaël] Berthon broke the tyre, so this was spinning in my mind. Then I saw Dušan coming, and I said ‘okay, let’s wait, let’s just wait’.

“If you are in the beginning of the race touching the kerbs you have less tyre pressure. So later I could feel the understeer, especially in the high speeds. So I said ‘shit, I have to slow down’. I slowed down a lot, and then I looked behind to know where is he faster? Where am I faster?’.

“I saw that I was faster all the way to here [going up the hill], so I only concentrated with my car and the tyres on the exit at the last corner. And that was it.”

Comtoyou team principal Jean-Michel Baert was not sure why Davidovski’s tyre punctured so easily on the kerbs of the street circuit, but was pleased to see him still finish the race. Last year he ran Coronel in one of his cars when Pau was part of the World Touring Car Cup, and for this weekend Comtoyou fielded seven of the eleven cars that raced.

“It’s different. We came here with the WTCR last year, and we come here with TCR Europe now,” he said. “Maybe some [TCR Europe] drivers don’t want to come because it’s a street circuit, but we have to come because we had a lot of gentleman drivers [who needed a benchmark].

“They did the race, and it was a good race. So everybody must come next year [so we’re not dependent on gentleman driver entries].”