Andy Priaulx, dubbed the ‘Schumacher of touring cars’
Andy Priaulx, Britain’s reigning three-times FIA World Touring Car Champion, has signed up to compete at The Race of Champions 2008, when the star-studded event returns to Wembley Stadium on Sunday, December 14. The announcement comes in advance of the ‘home’ fixture of Priaulx’s season, with the FIA World Touring Car Championship landing on British soil at Brands Hatch this weekend. Priaulx will be looking to repeat last year’s feats around the Kent circuit, where he secured one of his all- important race victories of 2007.
Dubbed the ‘Schumacher of touring cars’, Priaulx presided over F1 ace Heikki Kovalainen and French WTCC star Yvan Muller in The 2007 Race of Champions before being eliminated in the semi-finals by the man whose sporting pre-eminence he is now seeking to emulate, seven-times F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher. Guernseyman Priaulx is confident about turning the tables this year should he be paired again with the German maestro: “Michael is a tough competitor and we have a lot of respect for each other but when the lights go out there will be no holding us back. It’s fun, yes, but of course I want to win.”
The BMW Team UK driver, who currently lies in fourth place in this year’s WTCC standings, will renew his ROC Nations Cup partnership with Honda Racing’s F1 star, Jenson Button, as Autosport Team GB, one of two British pairings in this year’s competition. Once again, it was the Germans who put a halt to Priaulx and Button’s progress in 2007 Nations Cup, with the duo of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel proving too strong in the semi-finals.
Wembley Stadium will become a race track for the weekend “It was frustrating to get so close but not to make either final last year,” said Priaulx. “Competing at Wembley was incredible. They say the support of a home crowd gives you an extra second a lap, you can really feel them egging you on, the noise is phenomenal.”
“The Race of Champions brings together the world’s top drivers and Andy is undoubtedly one of the toughest,” said Fredrik Johnsson, President of event organizers, IMP. “The level of competition in the World Touring Car Championship is so intense, it is an amazing feat for him to have scored a hat-trick of world titles. We are thrilled that Andy will be racing at Wembley with us again this year.”
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