Andy Priaulx endured a disappointing end to his World Touring Car Championship season after an accident on the opening lap of race one ruined his chances of fighting for victory.
The BMW ace had qualified on the front row of the grid but was forced into the barriers at turn one after a touch from the SEAT of Jordi Gene, damaging his car and forcing the Guernseyman to struggle back to the pits so the team could get him out on the grid for race two.
Starting from the back of the grid for the season finale, Priaulx made a fine start to make up places but was lucky to then avoid being caught up in an accident with Tom Boardman which saw the Safety Car deployed early on.
Another accident at the start of lap eight saw Priaulx climb up to tenth place but a separate incident later in the lap saw the race red-flagged. With the result being declared based on the positions a lap earlier, Priaulx was classified in 13th and he admitted it hadn't been the end to the season he had hoped for.
“There was just nowhere for me to go,” he said of the incident in race one. “Afterwards I spoke to Jordi Gene who said he was touched on the left which then pushed him into me. You speak to every driver and they have a different story, but at the end of the day I was in the barrier. In these close racing circumstances with a rolling start we have to expect this sort of thing to happen, but it was disappointing as I would have loved a good result here.
“The boys did a great job to repair the car to get me on the grid for race two, as there was just a 15 minute gap between the two races here. It was just a matter of picking them off as you go along. However, it was an eventful race as Tom Boardman went over the top of me. I have never seen that before. He touched the barrier on the right, then went straight into the barrier on the left, which launched him straight over the top of me. I literally crouched down in my seat and then came out the other side. It was Days of Thunder stuff! It seemed to be just one accident after another this weekend.”
Despite failing to score, Priaulx retained fourth in the championship standings and the multiple title winner took time to congratulate the new champion Gabriele Tarquini on securing the crown.
“This was fantastic for Gabriele. He had really strong performances this year,” he said. “He has qualified really well all year and he has driven well. Congratulations to him and SEAT.”