Triple World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx concedes a lack of straight-line speed, aboard his WSR BMW, has left the BTCC returnee scratching his head after qualifying a lowly 23rd at Donington Park.

Priaulx starred on his return to the series at Brands Hatch but his fortunes this weekend could not be more different after a 'lack of ultimate pace' coupled with an engine misfire in qualifying, leaves the WSR driver uncharacteristically out of contention.

Despite leaving Brands Hatch with a podium to his name and sitting fourth the early point's standings, Priaulx admitted he already feared an uncompetitive showing at Donington Park this weekend was already on the cards.

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All of the West Surrey Racing prepared BMW's have been plagued by a lack of straight-line this weekend but, curiously, Priaulx doesn't believe the deficit is necessarily down to engine performance.

"Tough day yesterday," Priaulx told crash.net. "Obviously what happened in qualifying can happen at any time. We got a misfire. I was able to do one out lap and one flying lap, that was it. That's put me on the grid P23.

"Honestly I was concerned after FP2. I didn't go on new tyres, I was on used tyres. But what I saw at Brands Hatch worried me. I knew that this was going to hurt us even more here and I think that we've got to find a way to make the car quicker in top-speed.

"Whether it's aero or whatever I'm not sure but I don't believe it's an engine issue that we have. I just think we have straight-line speed issues. We've improved our package from last year, the engine is quicker and I've worked with Neil Brown Engines for many years, they are the best you can get, so I don't doubt that for a minute."

For today, Priaulx still has desires on reaching the top-ten but says he isn't 'overly excited' about his prospects given the way his season has panned out so far.

"I'd like to achieve a top-ten. We're P23 on the grid, let's see. I thought we were going to be competitive in the races at Brands but the race pace was not good and I had this last year in the Z4 in America," Priaulx continued.

"We'll just have to see how we are race pace wise. I think in qualifying - even with a bit more weight on board than Sam [Tordoff] I would have liked to have been competitive. But I'm not overly excited with what I've seen in races so far."