Tom Coronel will be hoping ‘Coronel Estoril’ will serve up more than just a huge sportscar crash when typed into the YouTube search function following next week’s WTCR Race of Portugal.
Coronel was lucky to emerge unscathed from the spectacular accident he suffered when he was tapped by the backmarker he was lapping while leading the Le Mans Series race at Estoril in 2001.

It was the second of two notable disappointments he experienced in the same year at Estoril, which joins the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup trail for the first time from June 25-27.

“Two times I have been there I was leading,” said the Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport driver. “In 2001, I was leading the Le Mans Series race and I was taken out, go to YouTube, type ‘Coronel Estoril’ and you can see for yourself! I was hit from behind while I was lapping the guy and he hit me in the back on the main straight.

“And don’t forget my first international touring car appearance was also in Estoril in 2001. The [European Super Touring] championship was between Duncan Huisman and Peter Kox, they hit each other off and I was leading the race. Then, two corners before the end, Gianni Morbidelli took me out. I made a 360 and finally I finished P3 and we were fighting on the podium. If we did that now we’d be banned for a year, 100 per cent. But it was good for the racing then and it will be the same this year.”

Coronel will pilot a second-generation Audi RS 3 LMS on Goodyear tyres at Circuito do Estoril and expects two exciting WTCR races.

“It has a long straight, big braking points, good left/right loopings, nice corners where you can squeeze it in between,” Coronel explained. “Of course, I miss Vila Real because I love street circuits and I had a race win there in the past. Vila Real is always special and unique but if there is going to be a substitute, then Estoril is the best choice.”
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