On the back of the finest result of his 2008 World Touring Car Championship campaign to-date - victory around the narrow, tortuous streets of Pau - Andy Priaulx came back down to earth with a bump at Brno in the Czech Republic last time out, registering not so much as a single point.

The reigning three-time WTCC Champion, though, has absolutely no intention of throwing in the towel, and has vowed to battle back strongly at Estoril this coming weekend - and then even more strongly still in front of his adoring home fans on British soil at Brands Hatch at the end of the month, as he told Crash.net...

Q:
Well Andy, it's exciting times for you at the moment. You've recently been awarded a very special award indeed, I believe..?

Andy Priaulx:
Yeah, absolutely; it was really nice to get the envelope from the Queen, and to see the words 'Andy Priaulx MBE' on it is a great, unbelievable honour. I'm very proud, and it's obviously lovely for my family and my sponsors as well; they've put so much into me over the years. Unfortunately it didn't make me any quicker in Brno, but hopefully it will add to my lap time as well!

Q:
Was it very unexpected?

AP:
You can't expect something like that. You get the nod, you know, that you might get it, but it's not guaranteed, so I've got to be a good boy now until I meet the Queen and get the MBE pinned on my chest. Then I'll know I've got it.

Q:
You've also got your autobiography coming out soon. Tell us about that...

AP:
Yeah, I've written an autobiography. I wanted it to be quite inspirational, more than anything else, so it's not just about the car and the results but really about how I put my seasons together, the struggles I had, how I found the money, a little bit about where I came from. There are some funny stories and some sad ones.

It was quite an emotional rollercoaster ride actually writing the book, to be honest. I had to go back through all the feelings of when I was like Tom Ingram [BRDC Stars of Tomorrow karting star], struggling for every penny, when nobody wanted me. To then win world titles off the back of that is very special.

Q:
And nine months spent living in a caravan too I understand..?

AP:
Yeah, it was nine months here at Silverstone. I wouldn't do it again, but at least I did it. It was a very special time and I have very fond memories of it, but I would never do it again!

Q:
You mentioned Brno earlier, which was obviously the latest World Touring Car Championship round. It didn't exactly go according to plan, did it..?

AP:
Not at all, no; it was really bad. Brno was tough; it was a difficult weekend, I was carrying a lot of ballast and we didn't perform particularly well. We qualified well, but sometimes you have these weekends and you take it on the chin. Hopefully you can be determined enough to turn it around, and I don't think the championship is by any means over, so I'm going to work really hard to try and improve my performance for Estoril.

Q:
There was good news, though, for another BMW driver in Brno, Alex Zanardi. You must have been very pleased to see that..?

AP:
Yeah; if there's one person other than me that I'd like to win a race, it's Alex. It was a very special day for him, and obviously good for BMW with the manufacturers' points as well. That meant it wasn't such a bad weekend in all, but obviously I want to try and improve the team's performance and try and get onto the championship trail again, which is really what I want - another title.

Q:
Looking back over the first part of the 2008 season, what are your overriding feelings so far?

AP:
I think it's complicated. When I look at the situation as it is at the moment, it's a number of things that are contributing towards our pace not being good enough. It's not just BMW struggling - it really is that the regs aren't suited to us. We've lost standings starts and now have rolling starts, we're carrying extra ballast, we don't have a sequential gearbox, the tyres don't really work on a rear wheel-drive car - I could go on and on and on.

At the end of the day, people want to see a new manufacturer win, and it's up to us to see that they don't. We need to try and do everything possible to win this championship, and if that means flexing our muscles with BMW and throwing something at the car to make it massively quick, that's what I hope they do. We want to get within a chance to win the championship at the end of the day, and we deserve it.

Q:
Based on all that, what do you think you can achieve at Estoril next time out?

AP:
I've got a good feeling; I think we can go there and do quite well. I think you have to go into every weekend with the expectation to do well, but with the fear of not doing well at the same time, which makes you work hard. If you've got the right balance, then very often you get a good weekend's results, whereas if you go in expecting too much you come out with nothing. It needs to be balanced - you need to expect the best and plan for the worst.

Q:
Beyond that, finally, the British round at Brands Hatch is fast approaching; you'll have the home support behind you, and also a special run in a Formula 1 car...

AP:
That's right - it's going to be superb. I love racing at Brands, and we only have one race a year in Britain, so there's normally a great crowd and it's going to be a lot of fun driving the F1 car. I'm going to really look forward to that.

Q:
And flat-out too..?

AP:
Oh God, yeah, of course! You don't get many chances, do you, so you've really got to go for it...

by Russell Atkins