Thanks to a clash of calendars, Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel will miss this weekend’s pair of races at the Norisring in Germany. Coronel, who currently lies in second place in the Drivers’ championship standings, will compete at the FIA WTCR event in Vila Real which meant his Audi RS 3 LMS TCR had a vacant driver’s seat.
His replacement, however, is no stranger to the series, as stepping into Coronel’s shoes is Norway’s Stian Paulsen; a regular fixture on TCR Europe entry lists in 2018 and 2019 in a CUPRA León. After not competing for the last two seasons, Paulsen was only able to briefly test the Audi at Spa-Francorchamps, so Free Practice 1 on Friday will be his first real chance to get to know the car and remind himself of the Norisring street circuit at which he last competed in the SEAT León Supercopa series in 2011.
Stian Paulsen commented: “I haven’t raced for two years, so I am really keen to make my comeback. Indeed, I have been stalking Tom to become his replacement driver and it worked out in the end. I did three laps with the Audi at Spa in the rain, that’s my only experience with the car so far, but I know the team is good and the car is good so now it is all up to me! I know the Norisring from racing in German one-make series, the circuit is not the most difficult. The only thing to find out is how close you can get to the wall… And events there are always special with a massive crowd, so I am looking forward to it!”
Tom Coronel added: “For the last two years, Stian has been sending me messages prior to every race weekend to ask whether I had contracted Covid and saying that he was ready to step in for me if needed; he sometimes even wrote to say that I was looking ill on my videos or Instagram! So I ended up promising that he was the first I would call whenever an opportunity should come up, which is now the case. He is a good guy. He is fast, he is fun and he is a safe pair of hands behind the wheel. I have a lot of respect for the way he has been running his own car, doing it all by himself. I will keep an eye on what he is doing at Norisring, of course!”