Andy Priaulx was delighted to have broken his victory duck in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, leading home a West Surrey Racing sweep of the podium at Croft in race one.
The former triple World Touring Car Champion secured his first touring car triumph since 2010, also clinching his return to the top step of the BTCC podium for the first time since Knockhill 2002.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag afterwards, a delighted Priaulx commented: “I was wondering if it was ever going to happen after the start of the year, when I’ve had strong qualifying performances and not converted them.”
Priaulx took advantage of a slight mistake from team-mate Sam Tordoff at the fast chicane on lap six, slipping up the inside of his fellow BMW driver to take a lead he would never lose.
“I made an average start but I managed to get past Sam when he made a little mistake coming out of the chicane. Then it was just get your head down, try and hit your marks and try not to spear it off.
“I pulled away initially and then Sam regained his rhythm, but I was always trying to manage the tyre. It’s easy to overcook it here and then it doesn’t come back. You can be a hero for a couple of laps and then fall back.
“The conditions were really changeable. It started off damp with a little bit of rain and I didn’t want to throw it off.”
The result was not just an emotional one for Priaulx, but was a historic result for Dick Bennetts‘ WSR squad as they claimed their maiden 1-2-3 finish in BTCC.
Now carrying 75kg of success ballast, Priaulx starts race two of the day under similar conditions in second spot, again alongside team-mate Tordoff who will be on pole position.
“It’s a brilliant way to start the weekend. Dick’s just said he’s never had a 1-2-3 so it’s great to be a part of that. I hope I can carry on doing this,” added Priaulx.
“I’ve got a big load of weight on with the softs [for race two] so we’ll see how that goes. I’m only interested in qualifying well and winning races this year – the rest is for next year.”