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Coronel secures second Independents’ crown
23 November 2009
Tom Coronel said he was delighted to secure the Independents' title for the second time after seeing off the challenge of Felix Porteiro in the final rounds of the World Touring Car Championship season.
Coronel's hopes of lifting the title were on the ropes earlier this year when it looked like he would be unable to complete the season, but a deal to conclude the year saw him head to Macau in the lead of the Independents' standings.
With double points on offer, Coronel's advantage wasn't as healthy as it may have appeared but top Indy honours in the opening race put him out of reach of Porteiro in the race for the crown.
The SUNRED Engineering driver was unable to go out on a high after he was caught up in Tom Boardman's incident early on in race two but when Porteiro then crashed out of the final race, Coronel's second title was confirmed.
“When we arrived here I had a good points margin for the title, but still not enough to be safe,” the Dutch driver said. “I was careful in practice to keep the car out of the barriers, something that not everybody managed to do.
“In the end I took 13th spot in qualifying and I was the fastest of the Independent runners with my main rival Felix Porteiro right behind me. I had a good start for the first race and immediately I moved up to tenth. Behind me were some works drivers who were no threat to my position in the Independents Trophy, so I let them go. My mission was to finish first in the privateer class and it worked out well, so I collected a trophy and, more importantly 20 points for the championship.
“[In race two] my team-mate Tom Boardman spun just ahead of me. His car was like a pinball between the armcos and there was no way I could avoid him. His race was definitely over, but I managed to get the car back to the pits. The team replaced the radiator and I could rejoin, although way down the order. Shortly afterwards the race was stopped with a red flag due to a huge crash initiated Porteiro. Fortunately he was unhurt, but when I saw he was out I knew that, despite my position outside the points, the championship was mine.
“For the second time I can take home the World title for Independent drivers. A good result in a year that we finished all of the races. In fact today's second race was the only zero points score of the year! For me that was the key to winning the title, always be there to take home some points. All in all it was a good and fair season in which we had to fight hard to get our results. Together with all our sponsors we managed to make it to the end of the season and win the title. A world title and for me it could not be better!"
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