30 June 2015
BTCC: Croft - Priaulx: I'm back in the groove
After taking his first BTCC victory at Croft since returning to the series, West Surrey Racing's Andy Priaulx finally feels he's got himself back into the groove.
West Surrey Racing's Andy Priaulx believes his comeback season to the British Touring Car Championship has finally turned a corner after enjoying by far his strongest weekend of 2015 at Croft.
The three-time World Touring Car champion kick-started a momentous weekend for WSR by taking his first BTCC win since Knockhill 2002 during race one. Sam Tordoff and Rob Collard followed that up with two triumphs of their own - capping off a resounding treble for the BMW 125i M Sport.
Priaulx would finish no lower than fourth in the remaining two races, including a further hard fought second place in race three after seeing off Honda's Gordon Shedden. His electrifying last lap showdown with Shedden was one of the weekend's high point.
"Solid weekend, really happy with that," Priaulx told crash.net. "My first win on the return to the BTCC and the 49th win of my career – just one more and I hit the big one.
"Really happy with my weekend from qualifying right through to how I managed the soft tyre with the weight and everything.
"Obviously this is one of our strongest tracks so we should be competitive and I think we materialised on that but overall I think it's starting to click for me now."
Reciting his race three battle with Shedden, Priaulx continued: "That was a good race, we had a proper scrap and it was really good fun.
"I knew he would be tough to pass, I had to be clever. In all fairness, and I know Gordon [Shedden] is very tough , I raced with him bumper to bumper and it was perfect, inch perfect everywhere so that was really nice.
"It was a nice little move at the end. I knew his front left had gone and tried to close into turn three but I couldn't so I had one or two chances and I squeezed it."
In terms of his championship, it was a much needed haul of points of Priaulx, who, up until this point, was left largely frustrated after being unable to convert his qualifying pace.
"It's been frustrating for me more than anything because I've been really strong in qualifying for the past four out of five races, obviously I've had a fuel pump issue in one of those races," the West Surrey Racing driver explained.
"I've been the best qualifier and I wanted to convert that into good results and I wasn't. This championship isn't easy, you come back into it and the rules are different, the tyres are different, and also the driver's and cars have changed. You've got to learn it; I'm learning it – simple as that.
"At least, now, that I've stood on the top step and got myself back into the groove."
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