Photo: TCR Europe

Coronel and Azcona in disagreement over qualifying clash at Spa

Mikel Azcona and Tom Coronel were both left very annoyed by two incidents they had in TCR World Tour qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps.

The first occurred at the final chicane as Comtoyou Racing’s Coronel, who was on a flying lap, came across BRC Racing driver Azcona. They then got too close to each other again at Les Combes on the next lap, with Coronel making use of a slipstream to try to pass Azcona around the outside.

They ended up colliding and both cutting the corner, leading to their laptimes being deleted instantly, and they spoke to each other once the session ended and then again with the stewards. Ultimately they decided Azcona was at fault, handing the Hyundai Elantra N driver a three-place grid penalty for Race 1 which drops him to 14th on the grid.

Before the penalty decision was made, TouringCarTimes heard from the pair.

Tom Coronel

“For me it was very clear, they blocked me in the final chicane. They slowed me completely down, on purpose, and then he said ‘yeah, but I was preparing my lap’.

“I said: ‘I don’t care what you do, if you see a fast car is coming you have to move over. And if you would be clever and you’re also slow on the straights as you say, then you take my slipstream if you’re clever. But no, no, you did the opposite. You destroyed my lap, then I had the perfect slipstream on top of the hill, and then hit you me off at Les Combes.’

“I was completely on the outside, I leave him the space on the inside, and he hit me! If I’m here, as you saw he hit me in the door, not on the wheel, but the next one is left so I win always. So that’s why you do.

“He said ‘you cannot overtake there on the outside’. How many videos do you want to see of overtakes there on the outside? It’s the place how to overtake, because if you overtake on the inside and the guy stays there, you lose on the other one. So you have to take them on the outside.

“So my opinion, you know what the difficult is with factory cars? They are playing games. And I am liberal, I am free, I can do what I want. And this is what I think they don’t see. That I’m racing, I’m not playing any games, I’m just a race car driver who drives on the limit. That’s what they should do also. They don’t know what is racing. Racing is being on the limit always, and not going off-throttle and making political games. Stop this ****. Stop it. We are racing here, and that’s what they should do.

“We spoke here and after. And of course he has a different view, but if he is a professional, he knows he’s lying. And it’s very easy: I don’t like liars. If you lie, you are being stupid for everybody. Or say nothing. But don’t lie. There’s a big difference there.

Mikel Azcona

“The thing that happened was I was on a flying lap, and braking for Les Combes I got a hit from the side. He was on the left, so in the end the caused me the track limits and cancellation of the lap. That’s what I saw [because we went off].

“On the previous lap, on the preparation lap, I knew he was coming on a flying lap. But he was 300 metres behind me when I was braking for the last chicane. If you see the live video and the onboard camera, you see his team-mate John Filippi who was exceeding track limits at Blanchimont was the guy who was blocking him braking for the chicane. So I didn’t block anyone, Filippi was after Blanchimont with no throttle, and I was aware of that – so his team-mate Filippi was the one who blocked him in the last chicane, so that’s very clear.”

“It’s not easy, and the temperatures are getting higher and higher. It’s so demanding for [the tyres].

“But I’m feeling very confident, and the car is working very nice. To be honest I’m very happy, and everything is working so good. I have a good feeling, good feedback, but the things is in this long track, seven kilometres with 40kg of ballast, and lack of 15kph on the top speed, it’s something that we are kind of struggling a lot on that. So we have to survive. We are not so bad, we are almost in top ten, which is very important for the race, and we will fight.”