Triple World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx has spoken of his relief after an operation to remove a lump on his thyroid gland was successful.
The Briton, who will miss the Nurburgring 24 Hours and next weekend's Intercontinental Le Mans Cup race at Imola, first discovered the lump during a routine check-up shortly before the Le Mans 24 Hours, in which he took a podium in the BMW M3 GT.
Following the race Priaulx saw a top specialist to have the lump removed. It was proved to be benign, and the 36-year-old Guernseyman is now recovering well and looking forward to returning to racing.
"I have regular medical check-ups, and a few weeks before Le Mans a lump showed up on my thyroid gland," Priaulx said. "I was booked in with one of the best surgeons in the field, whose job it was to take the lump out.
"I did not feel ill at all and yet this was lurking there. Dr. Tota has always given me a clean bill of health, and now this lump has been removed I shall be fitter than ever. The important thing is for the wound itself to heal and also the same internally with the thyroid. I am already taking short walks along the cliffs near my home to get my cardio strength back. I'm doing better every day."
Priaulx also paid tribute to a wide support network which includes family, doctors and the BMW Motorsport family before, during and after the operation.
"I very soon realised how lucky I was to be part of the BMW Motorsport family, and I cannot thank everyone in the team enough for the support they gave me. The time around Le Mans was difficult for me as I knew I would be having this operation a few days later, but in the team we were determined not to broadcast the news as I didn't want any negativity to surround this great event. The end result was a great podium for us.
"So a big thank-you to my family, friends and fans for their messages of support. My wife, Jo, was by my side all the time and our parents were amazing in how they made sure we had nothing to worry about."