Catsburg queries Cyan's "propaganda" response to Suzuka WTCR clash

Hyundai World Touring Car Cup driver Nicky Catsburg says the "immediate and polished" media response from Cyan Racing to his and Andy Priaulx's Suzuka clash seemed like it was 'prepared'

Catsburg queries Cyan's "propaganda" response to Suzuka WTCR clash

Catsburg was pursuing Priaulx for 13th in the closing stages of the opening race when they tangled at the first corner, which put Priaulx's Lynk & Co 03 out on the spot.

The BRC Racing driver gave his view on the incident immediately after the race, before Cyan's race report, in which Priaulx called for Catsburg to be banned, had been issued.

In a response issued to Autosport, Catsburg said a "propaganda-style" video released by Cyan five hours after the race had finished appeared to be "a deliberate tactical campaign" to discredit him and BRC.

"After the incident I had with Andy Priaulx in race one at Suzuka, a lot has been said by Andy and his team Cyan," said Catsburg.

"I decided to not engage in these online accusations during the weekend, [as] me and my team were still very focused on the remaining races.

"During the weekend it almost seemed like a deliberate tactical campaign against me and my team/Hyundai with Cyan's propaganda-style video directly after the race.

"The immediate and polished PR video almost seemed like they were preparing this response to an "incident" beforehand.

"The aggressive response by Andy and his team with Andy using sentences like 'Marshals could have been killed', 'Needs to be banned for the season', 'Using his car as a weapon of intent' is really taking it way too far.

"It was clear for everyone to see that Andy braked extremely early, even considering him being 'off the racing line'. The lap before I also tried to pass him there and somehow he did manage to brake around the normal braking point.

"We have clearly studied data/video/pictures and for us it is pretty obvious what happened. But I guess these kind of things are always debatable.

"Maybe I should have seen it coming and anticipated in a better way. But as Andy said to me during our meeting with the stewards, 'I am a three-time world champion, and you are not'."

Prior to the collision, Catsburg had swapped positions with his team-mate and title hopeful Norbert Michelisz.

But Catsburg said Cyan's inclusion of a message from Michelisz's team radio in its video, in which the Hungarian said he was considering letting Catsburg past, did not amount to proof of a premeditated call to eliminate any Cyan drivers to boost Michelisz's chances.

"The way they are using my team-mate's Norbi Michelisz onboard radio message, where he is suggesting me and him to swap position, as some sort of proof of this all is just beyond stupid," added Catsburg.

"The only thing this proves is that Norbi and BRC are smart when it comes to trying to win a championship, because clearly overtaking Andy Priaulx is not as straightforward as one might think.

"Exactly this situation happened in China [Ningbo] between Norbi and, surprise, Andy Priaulx."

He added: "Just to set the record straight. At no point was I asked by anyone to deliberately push Andy or one of his team-mates off. I would not do that anyway.

"I kind of understand Andy's response directly after the crash. He just got hit from behind with 230km/h and went into the barrier, hard.

"And, honestly, I feel like all the things that were said afterwards is probably him being in the crossfire when his team tries to discredit my team and manufacturer to gain some sort of political advantage.

"I like Andy, not because he is a three time world champion, just because he is a nice guy and I hope we will get to speaking terms soon when things are a bit cooled down."

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Series WTCR
Drivers Nick Catsburg
Author Jack Cozens
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