Cumbrian teenager Alex MacDowall heads to Croft Circuit near Darlington this weekend, 19th/20th June, with his confidence sky-high after showing outstanding pace during the previous Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event at Oulton Park just over a week ago.
For his ‘home’ event a few days from now, the 19-year-old Silverline Chevrolet driver is aiming for nothing less than a front-row start for the opening race and at least one podium finish having been consistently strong at Oulton Park.
Missing out on the top spot in qualifying at the Cheshire track by only 0.069 seconds, due to a small mistake in the final sector of his best lap, the races were largely hampered by bad luck for Alex – in particular the third encounter which he led until a driveshaft failure occurred on the fourth lap.
Alex has certainly been a revelation so far during his maiden season of touring car action and having now had the taste of leading a BTCC race for the first time, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star is hungry for more…much more.
“We should really have had pole position for the first race at Oulton but I made a mistake on my best lap in the final sector and that made all the difference”, said Alex, “At Croft, I think we should be just as strong so I’m aiming to qualify on the front row – it’d be nice to take the pole we should have had at Oulton.
“Croft is definitely one of my top two favourite circuits – it’s my local track and there’s always a very good atmosphere. It’s a daunting track and it’s fast too, which is what I like, plus it’s been a good circuit for me in the past. Last year I had a double pole, a win and a second place in Clios so I’m focused on trying to re-produce that sort of performance in the touring car.”
With fast straights, tricky chicanes, the challenging right-hander at Sunny In and Sunny Out and the all-important complex section leading to the final hairpin, Croft’s 2.1-mile circuit certainly has a bit of everything for the drivers and Alex is confident his Chevrolet Cruze will lend itself well to the track.
He added: “Although we should be quick on the straights, the Chevy will probably be strongest through the twisty parts of the track as it has very good grip on turn-in. I’m looking forward to the weekend, hopefully we can have a strong qualifying and three trouble-free races.”
Free practice at Croft is currently scheduled to take place at 09.30 and 12.15 on Saturday, 19th June, with round 13 qualifying expected to commence at 15.05. All three races will be held on Sunday, 20th June, at 12.00, 14.35 and 17.15 respectively and will be screened live on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4.
2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship driver standings:
1st Matt Neal, 98pts; 11th Alex MacDowall, 32pts