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WTCC’s Coronel gets set for the “hardest track ever”

WTCC’s Coronel gets set for the “hardest track ever”

18/05/2017 12:00

It’s one week until the star drivers from the FIA World Touring Car Championship take on the toughest track of them all, the mighty Nürburging Nordschleife. ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel gives his unique view ahead of the race they call The Big One.

The Nürburging Nordschleife: love it or loath it?
“I’m very fanatical about the track and once held the lap record there for five years. I was P3 on the grid for the WTCC race last year when really I should have been P12 or P15. You need to know the track.”

On a scale of 1-10, how hard is this track?
“It’s the hardest track ever, 100 per cent sure. There’s no track like the Nordschleife. You go to any race track in the world and you get excited but when you go to the Nordschleife you don’t just get excited, you get overwhelmed. It’s completely crazy.”

Does fear come into it?
“There’s always fear. But there should be fear in motor racing when there’s high speed. But it’s different for the Nordschleife. I respect the track and that’s how you have to play it. If you don’t respect the Nordschleife, you don’t get the results. You need to know where the tricks are on the Nordschleife because there are so many.”

What are the tricks?
“The tricks are the points where you need to take risks and also the many points where you don’t take the risk because you don’t gain anything because the risk level is too high. There are so many corners that you can never have an ideal lap, it’s impossible. There are just so many corners and everybody makes a mistake somewhere. But who makes less mistakes is the one who is the fastest because the lap is so long.”

Given the wide-open nature of this year’s WTCC, what are the prospects for the races?
“There are 10 drivers who could win the race, last year there were only three. The competition level is a lot higher this year.”

There are some Nordschleife rookies this year, what advice do you have for them?
“Respect the track and if you make a mistake leave it, don’t try to recover from it. You have to accept your handicap. I have raced there for 10 years and I still don’t understand the track so how can a rookie understand it?”

You won’t be competing in the 24h-Rennen this year. Will that help you?
“I think so because I was busy before but now I can concentrate fully on my WTCC ride.”

It’s fair to say this is a home event for you, right?
“I consider it as a home event. Nearly 200 of my sponsors are going to be there and it’s a two and a half hour ride from my house.”

They are two very different events but as a regular on the Dakar as well, can you make any comparisons between that event and the Nordschleife?
“In terms of the respect you need to show then yes. But in challenges no because the WTCC it’s always maximum. It’s a world championship and you cannot relax. It’s always flat out. The Dakar is an adventure, not a race for me. It’s survival. The Nordschleife is a type of survival but it’s always maximum.”

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FIA World Touring Car Championship promoter Eurosport Events has broken with tradition by awarding the prestigious WTCC Nürburgring Nordschleife Best Driver Trophy to not one but two drivers after Polestar Cyan Racing’s factory duo, Thed Björk and Nicky Catsburg, tamed planet earth’s toughest race track in spectacular fashion back in May.

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