Spectacular WTCC debut on the Nordschleife

The premiere of the World Touring Car Championship on the Nürburgring Nordschleife set many highlights, including the first WTCC championship point secured by a woman, Sabine Schmitz in the first race. Jose-Maria Lopez was the big winner of the weekend, though, extending his championship lead even further with a win and a second place.
Hunt for the DHL pole position
Due to the enormous track length of some 25 kilometres, a different method was used for qualifying on the Green Hell than in the other world championship races. WTCC drivers had a 60-minute segment in which to set their times. Jose-Maria Lopez was unbeatable, posting a time of 8:37.327 minutes to secure pole position with a lead of more than one second.
The Citroën Armada was unable to beat off the competition unlike in previous qualification sessions. Hugo Valente in second place was the main rival of the Argentinian. The next Citroën competitor slotted into fourth position behind Sebastien Loeb in third place. Norbert Michelisz was the fastest Honda driver, while Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller were even faster.
Thrills galore in the Eifel

The debut of the World Touring Car Championship at the Nordschleife – the first World Championship taking place on the iconic Nordschleife since 20 years –  was marked by a very enthusiastic Hugo Valente. After a poor start, the Frenchman fought hard against the competition until his race weekend ended prematurely after making a mistake. The Citroën trio of Lopez, Loeb and Muller fought for victory at the head of the field, and Lopez came out on top. Meanwhile, Sabine Schmitz successfully fended off Jaap van Lagen to secure one championship point.
The second race was even more exciting. Tiago Monteiro was able to defend his lead, but Muller was already all over him after just a few turns. The other Citroën drivers, including Tom Coronel, fought a five-way battle for fourth position which broke up going down the long straight. Further scraps led to an exciting battle for victory developing between Muller, Lopez, Monteiro and Tarquini. Muller won through, and the four drivers crossed the finish line within seven tenths of a second of each other.
Coronel scores on the Nordschleife

Tom Coronel secured ninth position on the grid in qualifying and was consequently accorded second starting position in the second race. Thus, the Dutchman had a promising grid position in both races on the Nordschleife.
However, his first race was soon over after a collision. The Chevrolet Cruze was only slightly damaged, but in view of his more promising prospects in the second race, Coronel decided to abandon the first race in conjunction with his team. “In the first race, I had a poor start and in the first corner, I got hit by another driver. The impact wasn't heavy, but I still decided to turn into the pits to avoid any unnecessary risks, so that I would at least be able to compete in race two,” said Coronel.
He did not have the best of starts in the second race. He lost two positions to Tarquini and Muller despite getting away well. He held on to fourth position until he reached the long straight where he was overtaken by four Citroëns that had been behind him. “I have to admit that I had expected more,” said Coronel. “In wet conditions, we were on the pace in practice, but in the dry, the races didn't bring the results we had hoped for.” Coronel ended the second race in eighth place to finish as the best-placed Chevrolet driver.
You can watch highlights from Tom’s race weekend in this video.

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