ROAL Motorsport has completed its first WTCC test of 2013 with Tom Coronel at the wheel for two days of running at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy.
The 'Flying Dutchman' was at the wheel of the team's BMW 320 TC, which was fitted with an all-new exhaust system developed by BMW Motorsport over the winter.
The test started under sunny skies on Thursday with light rain falling on Friday morning. However, with the track dry for most the test, the team was able to make good progress with the revised car.
“We were mainly focusing on the engine set up and mapping,” team boss Roberto Ravaglia said. “It is the first track test for the engine in 2013 specifications, which features a new exhaust and manifold. It has been a good test, though it is still too early to draw a conclusion on the benefits we may have from this technical development.”
Coronel was happy to be back in a car after a long winter break and used the days to familiarise himself with the cars reduced weight for 2013.
'It's a good feeling to be back at the wheel of a racing car after the winter break,” the former Independent trophy winner said. “The car is pretty much the same, except for this new exhaust system. The main problem for us is to get down to the minimum weight, because in previous years, we have never been able to reach it. Now the FIA has reduced our weight from 1160kg to 1150kg, but we need to find a solution for having a benefit from this.
“This is the third year for me in the team. I know them, my engineer and the car. I am satisfied and this is the first time I have the feeling that I am ready to attack. I'm not sure it's going to happen, but in Netherlands we a saying: the third time is going to be the right one…”
Female Italian GT racer for ROAL Motorsport, Michela Cerruti, also drove the car on Friday afternoon to assist with the team's development.
Coronel will be partnered by Darryl O'Young for the 2013 WTCC campaign.
by Dexter Fielding