Photo: TCR Europe

Tom Coronel crowned TCR Europe champion as Ruben Volt wins final race

Tom Coronel became the overall champion of a full-length touring car series for the first time in his lengthy racing career in the TCR Europe finale at Barcelona.

The Comtoyou Racing driver topped the Independent’s Trophy classification in the World Touring Car Championship in 2009, and won the single-event TCR Spa 500 and Motorsport Games Touring Car Cup in 2019 and 2022 respectively.

He has led the TCR Europe standings since the third race of this season, and fourth place in the final race was enough to secure the crown.

ALM Motorsport’s Ruben Volt started on reversed-grid pole but lost the lead straight away as Volcano Motorsport’s Daniel Tkachenko jumped the start. Volt cut turn two and almost slid into the side of Tkachenko, but remained in second while John Filippi – who was points leader at the start of the season – and Levente Losonczy made contact behind.

When the lights went out Filippi became Coronel’s sole title rival, as their teammate Kobe Pauwels pulled into the pits on the formation lap and Comtoyou were quick to get the bonnet up to check for an issue. He did not start the race, and therefore Coronel went from having an eight-point margin over his closest rival to now having a 35-point lead over Filippi to think about.

Filippi and Coronel made up ground on lap two as their teammate Nicola Baldan made a mistake and dropped behind both, and Filippi passed Viktor Davidovki – another Comtoyou driver – a lap later. Coronel went side-by-side with Davidovski through the first four corners of lap four, and he took fourth place from him after they made contact at turn five and Davidovski was sent spinning into the gravel.

Stewards deemed there was “no investigation necessary”, and the safety car led the field until lap seven. On the restart Tkachenko missed the opening corner entirely, cut the next one then ran wide at turn three and dropped to third behind Volt and the title-chasing Filippi.

At the end of the lap Tkachenko finally took through drive-through penalty he had been given for jumping the start, and that promoted Coronel to third.

He would eventually lose that position to a diving move at turn one by MA:GP’s Viktor Andersson, but the job was already done. Filippi was unable to take the lead from Volt, who took his second win in three races, Filippi took the runner-up spot in the standings from Pauwel and Coronel became champion by 27 points as he crossed the line in fourth place.

Andersson’s first podium of the season put him past Brown into fifth in the standings, with Brown finishing the race sixth after continuing to battle with Baldan.