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Catsburg, Priaulx blame each other for WTCR clash

2019-10-26T11:19:12+02:00October 26th, 2019|2019, WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan 2019|

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.”