Coronel secures a dramatic pole position at the Slovakiaring

Coronel secures a dramatic pole position at the Slovakiaring

Tom Coronel, driving a Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS, will start the first race of the 2021 TCR Europe season from pole position after two dramatic Qualifying sessions at the Slovakiaring. Alongside Coronel on the front row will be the Volcano Motorsport CUPRA León Competición of Mikel Azcona, the 2018 TCR Europe champion.

In Q1, while most drivers elected to do an installation lap and then pit for a tyre change, Coronel chose to stay out and completed two quick laps. His first competitive time was a 2:11.902 and he immediately bettered that time with a 2:11.219 on his next lap. His tactics seemed to have been correct, as the session was red-flagged with a little over eleven minutes remaining when Teddy Clairet’s Peugeot 308 went into the gravel at Turn 6. When the session resumed, there was a scramble to beat Coronel’s time, with both Coronel and Mat’o Homola electing to remain in the pits to see what the others would do.

First, Coronel’s team-mate Dušan Borkovič went quickest with a time of 2:10.758, but the Serbian driver was beaten almost immediately by Azcona with a 2:10.510. Franco Girolami then posted a 2:11.681 to go P5, with Nicolas Baert (2:11.479) and then Dániel Nagy (2:11.378) securing their places in Q2. Towards the end of the session, Coronel went back out and re-took P2 with a time of 2:10.594. On a thrilling final lap, Niels Langeveld failed by 0.079 of a second to get into the top twelve and so failed to progress into the second stage of Qualifying.

At the start of Q2, Homola’s Hyundai remained in the pits with its bonnet up, with a dejected Homola soon climbing out of the car to signify that he would take no further part in the session thanks to a fluid leak. Coronel, too, remained in the pits, but the Audi driver was playing a waiting game to see what his rivals would do. The answer was quick to emerge; Borkovič posted a 2:10.720 on his first flying lap, with his team-mate Baert going P2 with a 2:10.960. On the next lap, Azcona posted a 2:10.664, with Nagy (2:10.836) going P3. Baert then briefly took provisional pole position with a lap of 2:10.570 before Coronel snatched it back on his first competitive lap of the session with a 2:10.344. Again there was a dramatic end to the session with Azcona making a last-gasp attempt to retake P1, but it wasn’t to be and so the Spaniard would have to settle for second on the grid alongside Coronel for Race 1 with a time of 2:10.502. Thanks to the reversed grid, Mehdi Bennani is on provisional pole position for Race 2 in the Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N.

Race 1 is scheduled to start at 15.15 CET and will be streamed live on TCR TV and the series’ social media platforms.

Qualifying result
Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS3 LMS)   2:10.344
Mikel Azcona (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición)   2:10.502
Nicolas Baert (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS3 LMS)   2:10.570
Dušan Borkovič (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS3 LMS)   2:10.720
Dániel Nagy (Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición)   2:10.836

Championship points
1. Tom Coronel 10 pts; 2. Mikel Azcona 9 pts; 3. Nicolas Baert 8 pts; 4. Dušan Borkovič 7 pts; 5. Dániel Nagy 6 pts

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