PRE-EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE
FIA WTCR RACE OF NETHERLANDS
ZANDVOORT, 19-21 May 2018
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 10-12 of 30
Tom Coronel, Boutsen Ginion Racing
Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Racing Team
Prince Bernhard van Oranje, Bas Koeten Racing (wildcard)
Frédéric Vervisch, Audi Sport Team Comtoyou
Turning first to Tom Coronel, the local hero of course. Tom, what’s it like being on this track, your home track this weekend?
It’s good especially because tomorrow and the day after you will see it will be crowded and it will be difficult to walk here in the paddock. It’s one of those things you always want, once a year you always want the moment of fame on your home track, especially to show how motorsport is in The Netherlands and of course how you are behaving yourself in the sport. It’s a good thing, it’s a long time ago, it’s 11 years but I think I’m in trouble.
So just explain how Free Practice 1 went for you?
Complete sh*t. No other words for that. It was very bad, I get no feeling. I had some difficulties with the car, which we have already for two races. We’re trying to find out some electronic thing, shift some time up, down, Vervisch even came to me after the Race 1 at Nürburgring and said ‘there’s something wrong with your car’. I said ‘I know but we cannot find it’. And I think we still have the same difficulty at the moment so I’m in the sh*t.
Turning next to Frédéric Vervisch and you come here on the back of a fantastic weekend in Germany. Have you been able to carry that form, that confidence, that motivation to Zandvoort?
I want to see how the weekend goes you know. Nordschleife is a special track, I don’t think it’s a real reference for the rest of the season. Yes, I had a great weekend, yes I’m very happy with it. I think the Audi will be more competitive from now on but there are many great drivers so let’s see what happens.
And on Free Practice 1, did it go to plan for you?
It’s better than it was ever before so it’s good. It’s not perfect but I had a better Free Practice 1 than Mr Coronel.
Turning next to Prince Bernhard van Oranje and firstly welcome to the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. Your first experience of a WTCR car on track against your rivals, what did it feel like?
Well of course it’s great to drive between these heroes at our special track. It’s unique we have WTCR on our circuit again and from that perspective it’s really cool. For me to drive a front-wheel-drive car I’m still quite a novice, I’m not very used to it but it’s amazing to be here.
Tom Coronel has mentioned he’s spent some time with you giving you a few tips and advice. Did any of that help you in that session?
Normally when I drive with Tom it’s in a rear-wheel-drive car so it’s a bit different. Of course it would be nice to have a bit more experience in this car but I’m sure with the help of Tom I will get there.
And you’re here with two hats on because you’re not just racing this weekend but you have a big role at Circuit Zandvoort. What can we expect this weekend?
We expect 120,000 people over the complete weekend. That’s unique and it’s also one of the best programmes we had in the last few years with great racing, 80 cars on track and of course the Red Bull Formula One cars doing demos, we have F60s flying over and a lot of things for families so it’s unique. Max has such a strong fan base and with this weather coming up it’s probably going to be the best weekend we ever had.
Turning next to Gabriele Tarquini, you're arriving here after a tough weekend in Germany and you’e made reference to your fitness. How were you feeling in the car in that session?
I am not 100 per cent because my neck is a little bit stiff but it was better than I expected. I know after a big accident it’s always very tough to re-join the track but I tried to take my pace and it was quite good.
How did the car feel because there have been a few changes for this weekend?
The car now is not like before but we have four wheels and a steering wheel and we must push as much as possible to do our best on this track. But for sure the performance will not be like it was on the previous weekends.
Turning next to Esteban Guerrieri, one of our three winners in Germany and coming back to a track you’ve raced at before in the Masters of Formula 3. Did any of those memories come back?
Not really similar to what I was used to drive in F3 but still you feel quite a lot of the speed around the banked corners and the fast right-hander, that’s quite fun. I believe it’s always quite challenging this track, it’s different and I don’t know why. It’s not easy, the tyre regulation is quite tricky, you feel the car moving around and you can make quite a few mistakes. I almost went off in that quick corner in that session. It’s quite tricky to set up the car but, to be honest, I can feel the development we have done with the boys from ALL-INKL because the car feels in a progression from what we did at the test even though that was in the wet but we did some laps in the dry at the end of the second day. I’m quite confident. Hopefully the Hondas are in front and wishing all the best here for Tom as well. Hopefully he can solve the problems and be competitive here in his home track.
You were quick this morning as was your team-mate Yann Ehrlacher. It’s shaping up to be quite a battle between you two?
It looks like to be quite close to each other, which is good, because obviously we can learn from each other and I obviously prefer this in a team and with a good atmosphere that we have. It’s one key point of the progression and also James [Thompson] is not too far away so we are going the right way and I’m happy.
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