Coronel fastest in Curitiba testing

Tom Coronel gave a hint that World Touring Car title favourite Chevrolet may not have everything its own way in 2011 by topping Curitiba's Friday afternoon test

Coronel fastest in Curitiba testing

The Dutchman, who has switched to Roberto Ravaglia's returning ROAL Motorsport BMW team after five years campaigning SEAT Leons, recorded a fastest time of 1m23.090s. Coronel's effort was some seven tenths faster than Chevrolet's lead pairing of Rob Huff and defending champion Yvan Muller in second and third.

"I felt like a rodeo rider in the morning shakedown," said Coronel. "I had to apologise to Roberto. I just said, 'I'm sorry I can't drive this car.' Having an ex-driver like Roberto as team boss really works. He's very hard on me, but this morning he calmed me down and said, 'Don't worry.'

"The car now feels completely different and I am not locking the brakes any more. I don't want to say anything bad about the car I drove last year, but coming back to rear-wheel drive is what I am used to. I have the same feeling as in my time in Japanese F3 and Nippon, with two or three degrees angle of slide. That lap time was completely clean. I did cut the first corner on the next lap passing [Kristian] Poulsen and [Alain] Menu, but it was clear that I then backed off."

Swiss racer Fredy Barth led the SEAT charge in fourth.

"It's the first time that I've driven the car since my Macau accident last year," said Barth. "To be honest, I don't really know where we are [in terms of competitive order]. I put on another set of tyres at the end, but they weren't brand new. Following Coronel, it seemed that it was not so much in the corners where he was pulling away but on the straight. It's the position we were in last year with our turbo diesel, but that's life."

Barth's Sunred team-mate Gabriele Tarquini, ended the afternoon test in fifth. The Italian did not participate in the 90-minute morning shakedown. "We wanted to conserve the engine as it has to do three races," explained Tarquini. The sister Lukoil-liveried car of Aleksei Dudukalo was too badly damaged from an accident at Esse de Alta in the shakedown to return to the track this afternoon.

Three-time Brazilian Stock Car champion Carlos 'Caca' Bueno ended the day sixth in his second guest appearance for Chevrolet, following his WTCC debut at Brands Hatch last year. The WTCC machines are in the region of five seconds slower than the bespoke silhouette Brazilian Stock Cars with which they are sharing the bill at Curitiba this weekend.

Kristian Poulsen caused a red flag by spinning into the gravel at Esse da Alta, but rejoined the test to set the seventh fastest time ahead of team-mate Franz Engstler.

Volvo appears to be playing down expectations on its full-time return to the WTCC. Robert Dahlgren's S2000-engined C30 is sporting '2011 Evaluation Year' in large signage across the bodywork; the Swede ended the afternoon in ninth.

Alain Menu was an unfamiliar 12th in the fourth Chevrolet entry. "I am not worried," said the experienced Swiss. "I was experimenting with many things, including race set-ups, and unlike some others I didn't use any new tyres."

Former GP2 race-winner Javier Villa endured a tough WTCC debut. The Spanish Mini champion was sidelined throughout the day with steering pump problems, compounding his total lack of pre-season testing.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m23.090s 2. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m23.713s + 0.623s 3. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m23.796s + 0.706s 4. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 1m23.864s + 0.774s 5. Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT 1m24.003s + 0.913s 6. Carlos Bueno Chevrolet 1m24.338s + 1.248s 7. Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 1m24.369s + 1.279s 8. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m24.373s + 1.283s 9. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo 1m24.379s + 1.289s 10. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT 1m24.474s + 1.384s 11. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT 1m24.678s + 1.588s 12. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m24.691s + 1.601s 13. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT 1m24.881s + 1.791s 14. Darryl O'Young bamboo Chevrolet 1m25.230s + 2.140s 15. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m25.503s + 2.413s 16. Marchy Lee KK BMW 1m25.562s + 2.472s 17. Yukinori Taniguchi bamboo Chevrolet 1m26.745s + 3.655s 18. Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW 1m31.591s + 8.501s 
shares
comments
World Touring Car season guide

Previous article

World Touring Car season guide

Next article

Chevy duo hit out at new qualifying

Chevy duo hit out at new qualifying
Load comments
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014