Andy Priaulx admitted he was thrilled to secure his first World Touring Car Championship pole since the 2006 season finale after leading the way in qualifying on the streets of Pau.
The triple champion edged out fellow BMW driver Augusto Farfus in the closing minutes of qualifying on the streets of the French city to take what was only his fifth WTCC pole position.
Having always admitted to being a fan of street circuits, Priaulx said he was delighted to see the hard work of the RBM-run team pay off with a run to pole, with the position being vital at a circuit where overtaking is far from easy.
“It has been a long time since I was on pole and it has been a long hard struggle for us at BMW,” he said. “I think it is important for us and the championship to have some success.
“Like every street track, it is all about having confidence in braking and just getting the best out of the car without too many risks, but here there are always going to be risks. I was pretty much a free spirit in the car and I just wanted to drive a good lap with no mistakes, although I did make a small one on that lap.”
With the diesel SEATs off the pace and all down outside the top ten, Priaulx admitted the aim for race day had to be to score big to try and haul himself back into contention for the title.
“Part of the job is done and now we have to win both races to claw back the points deficit,” he said. “We have to score some big points.”