Andy Priaulx has warned defending champion Yvan Muller that he is out to get him during the 2009 World Touring Car Championship season as the BMW Team UK man seeks to reclaim his crown.
Muller became the first person other than Priaulx to secure the title last season at the wheel of his diesel-powered SEAT Leon, something which Priaulx admitted had hurt as his amazing run of success came to an end.
The Guernseyman will continue with his BMW 320si into the new season and he admitted that the loss of his crown had made him more determined that ever heading into the opening rounds of the year.
“I am always motivated whenever I get into a car, but this year I have even more determination to beat the opposition,” he said. “It hurt losing my title last year, even though it was to a worthy competitor. However, I need to warn Yvan Muller now that I am after him, although I am realistic about the task ahead and only when we hit the track in Curitiba will I know just how difficult it will be.”
Priaulx has run strongly in the past at Curitiba, winning a race back in 2006, but he was keen to point out that the season-opener would be something of a step into the unknown with the diesel Leon being hit with some restrictions for the new season and Chevrolet entering its Cruze model into competition for the first time.
“A win there on our first visit in 2006 was great,” he said. “Since then BMW has done well, even if I have not won another race. Last year I had to battle back from a disappointing qualifying, but I got to grips with the track that I enjoy driving on and was back on the podium.
“My RBM team has been working very hard all winter on my new car, but we are going into the unknown as SEAT, Chevrolet and BMW have all been testing apart from each other, so when we hit the track in Curitiba it will be the first time we know exactly what winter testing has produced.”