Catsburg, Priaulx blame each other for WTCR clash
Nicky Catsburg and Andy Priaulx have blamed each other for the clash that led to Priaulx’s high-speed exit from Race 1 at WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan.
Priaulx was defending P13 from Catsburg heading into Turn 1 when contact sent the Cyan Performance Lynk & Co driver into the safety barriers on the outside of the corner.
Although Priaulx was uninjured, the Briton’s Lynk & Co 03 TCR suffered extensive damage, which prompted him to remonstrate with Catsburg as the field circulated behind the safety car. Catsburg finished P14 behind fellow Hyundai driver Norbert Michelisz.
Catsburg said: “I was behind Andy Priaulx and I was a lot quicker and I obviously tried to overtake him. He did a crazy, unexpected move into Turn 1. He moved under-braking and braked way too early. Obviously, it looks like I fired him off but I cannot anticipate on a driver doing something like that.
“It’s a shame that he was in the wall and I don’t want anyone to be in the wall, especially not Andy. Andy and I have a good relationship and I understand now that he has been very angry.
“In the end I really feel it was his mistake. We are for sure going to have to defend ourselves at race direction. Let’s see what happens but in my opinion what he did I could almost say it was intentional, I don’t know, I shouldn’t say it, but it was very unexpected. I don’t know what to say more about it but I hope the race direction will come to a good conclusion.”
Priaulx said: “That was totally intentional to swap positions [with Michelisz] and then drive me off the road. That was the most unsporting thing I’ve ever seen in my life. He was using his car as a weapon of intent, that is super-dangerous. As a factory driver you shouldn’t be doing that kind of thing as an example for all the young drivers coming through. If I had killed a marshal, hurt myself or hit Yann [Ehrlacher] side on, who knows what that kind of driving behaviour could have caused. I think that should be immediate exclusion for the rest of the season.”