Andy Priaulx has labelled his Brands Hatch weekend a success, despite coming away with his first retirement of the World Touring Car season.
Having spent the weekend overcoming a significant weight disadvantage, Priaulx placed his BMW 320si, complete with 53kg of success ballast, fourth on the grid and made the most of his starting position to push up to third in the early stages of the first race.
Slipping to fourth when he was leapfrogged by Yvan Muller in the first few laps, Priaulx proceeded to shadow the SEAT for the remainder of the race as the Frenchman struggled with his own ballast through the corners.
However, with the TDI engine propelling Muller out of the bends, Priaulx was unable to get a run on the Muller that was good enough to muscle his way past. Nonetheless, with Rob Huff retiring in the latter stages of the race, Priaulx was still able to climb onto the podium in third.
Even so, speaking to Crash.net Radio
afterwards, having stared at the back of the Leon in Estoril too, Priaulx admits he doesn't particularly like the look of it anymore…
“I have been looking at the back of the SEAT for the last two races and I don't like it,” he joked “It was a good race to be third with 53kg, particularly based on recent performances where we have seen that we are not as quick with weight as the SEAT's.
“I was ahead of Yvan, but he passed me at turn five but although I was faster than him, I couldn't get past. Every time I tried to get close to him in the middle of the corners, he would pull away. He is driving to the strengths of the car, which is exactly what he is paid to do, but it is difficult for us to do anything about it.”
However, Priaulx's day was hurt by a first failure to finish this season when a puncture whilst running in sixth place forced him into the pits to retire. Nonetheless, with a large crowd coming to watch him demonstrate a BMW Sauber F1 car, Priaulx was still happy with his day.
“I am not disappointed,” he added. “The crowd was fantastic today and I am pleased to still be in with a shout of the title. We still have a big chunk to find and we need to find it now, but this championship is still open.”