Priaulx revived

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Tin-top champion made his debut at the revival with a clean bill of health and a BMW DTM drive in the pipeline

Earlier this year Andy Priaulx went through hell. For five weeks he awaited test results for a lump found in his throat, unsure what the future might hold. A couple of months on, the three-time World Touring Car Champion is deep into preparations for BMW’s 2012 DTM return, and last weekend made his debut at the Goodwood Revival.

Life is good again, and given what he’s been through, Priaulx is drinking in every moment. A red scar is the physical reminder of his recent thyroid operation, but as soon as he was given the all-clear Priaulx’s mind was back on racing. he wasn’t about to let a major programme such as the DTM slip through his fingers. “The doctors told me it would be two months before I could get back in a car,” he says. “Three weeks later I was testing.”

A trip to Goodwood with BMW’s Park Lane classic division proved a welcome diversion, and it surprised Priaulx, too. he didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. “It reminds me of my hillclimb days,” he says. “Modern racing is so intense and focused, but here I can enjoy it with my family.”

That’s not to say he wasn’t taking it seriously. Priaulx was entered in the star-studded St Mary’s Trophy race on Revival Saturday, driving a pristine BMW 1800 Tisa. All race long he enjoyed an entertaining duel with Richard Attwood’s Alan Mann Cortina (above), just losing out on straightline grunt to finish a creditable seventh. “Next year I want to come back and win,” he grinned afterwards. He fancies a crack at the TT celebration too, and has his fingers crossed there won’t be a DTM calendar clash.

At 38, Andy isn’t the first relative ‘young gun’ to be turned on to historics by the marvel that is Goodwood. Fit, healthy and happy, the Guernseyman’s first Revival is unlikely to be his last.

Damien Smith