Andy Priaulx: “I Struggled To Hit The Sweet Spot”

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Andy Priaulx was happy to join West Surrey Racing team-mate Sam Tordoff on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Croft, despite admitting that there was more to give from the BMW 125i.

Priaulx came narrowly short of making it two pole positions in five meetings of his comeback BTCC season, having been consistently battling for the top spot all Saturday at Croft.

After missing out by just 0.070s, Priaulx told The Checkered Flag that he felt that he could have qualified on pole position, but did not feel as comfortable in qualifying compared to the pair of free practice sessions earlier in the day.

“To be honest, I’m very happy with it, but it didn’t actually feel great in that session”, Priaulx told TCF after qualifying.

“I think the Porsches out before us changed the surface of the circuit somewhat and the evolution was not quite what we thought it was going to be.

“I struggled to hit the sweet spot.We’ll look at the data and see if we can find a reason why, but overall I’m very happy.

“To be on the front row – there’s a lot for me to play for tomorrow. [Sam] just pipped me, the little b*gger!” the triple World Touring Car Champion quipped.

BMW have been successful nine times since 2007 at Croft circuit in BTCC, Colin Turkington having won four of the last six encounters in North Yorkshire.

Echoing the words of his pole-sitting team-mate, Tordoff, Priaulx aims to finally break his win duck of 2015 at a track he expects will be BMW’s best, saying: “It’s a good track for us so we need to take maximum points while we’re here really.

“I’m not too bothered about the championship this year. I’m more bothered about trying to win races. I’ve already shown I have good pace in qualifying but haven’t converted that into a win – we’ll see if that changes tomorrow.”

Priaulx last raced at Croft in 2002 – racing for Honda’s works squad – and also admitted to TCF that his return to the circuit has been an enjoyable one.

“I’m loving it. 13 years since I last raced here and it still hasn’t changed and is still a great track. From first run this morning I was strong and on new tyres I was still competitive.”

On the prospect of having to contend with rain on Sunday, Priaulx concluded: “It would be nicer if it was dry for us, but it is what it is.”

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