Priaulx wins third touring car title

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The Independent Online

Andy Priaulx set his sights on a fourth consecutive World Touring Car Championship title within hours of completing an amazing hat-trick yesterday.

The odds about Priaulx making it three in a row prior to the last two races in Macau were long after a disastrous qualifying session in his BMW. Starting from 12th and with his main rival, SEAT's Yvan Muller, on the front row in second, the odds lengthened as the Frenchman led with two laps of the first nine-lap race remaining.

But Muller retired with a fuel pump problem that ruled him out of race two and another challenger, BMW's Augusto Farfus, crashed into the barriers on the final lap. That allowed Priaulx to finish eighth and with it take the vital pole position in race two. He led from start to finish.

Priaulx won the title by 11 points from Muller, with another Briton, James Thompson, third overall in his Alfa Romeo.

Priaulx said: "We won't have long to celebrate as soon we will be starting on work for 2008.

"Each year it seems to get harder to win the championship but I am determined to be back here in Macau in 2008 with a chance of taking the title. I know how to win championships – you need the right package and consistency, so I shall be doing everything in my power to make sure we get both."

The Guernsey driver added: "Some days just cannot be visualised as the outcome, in some ways, is too amazing to hope for. I suppose in many ways this was one of those days. But I never give up, even though I knew it needed something special to win this title for the third time.

"It is unbelievable what happened. We all know you need a bit of luck to win a championship, but also you have to be there to take the luck, and today was my lucky day."

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