Alex MacDowall News

MacDowall takes vital points during first flyaway event of year


Two contact-strewn FIA World Touring Car Championship races in Argentina on Sunday, 4th August, cost Alex MacDowall a shot at his eighth 2013 Yokohama Independents Trophy podium – although a double points score did enable the British racer to retain his top three placing in the class title battle.

In the thick of the action during both encounters at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo, the inaugural visit of the WTCC to the South American track and first ‘flyaway’ event of the campaign, the Carlisle driver took a best result of fourth in class in round 15 before adding sixth in round 16.

Alex started the weekend well in free practice and progressed impressively to end the second run on Saturday, 3rd August, fastest of the Independents Trophy contenders and an excellent third quickest overall – just 0.3 seconds shy of the outright pace in his Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze.

Going on to qualify on the Independents pole position, sixth overall on the grid, and then lapping second fastest during raceday warm-up, the 22-year-old wasn’t able to make the getaway he wanted off the rolling start to round 15 and slipped to eighth initially.

He was then elbowed back to 12th before the end of lap one, after some robust action, and more contact over the next couple of tours relegated Alex to 16th overall and sixth in class. He then started to mount a comeback, though, slicing his way through the mid-order to claim fourth in class and 11th position overall – missing out on the outright top 10 by less than a second.

Starting race two from fifth, fourth in the Independents Trophy, Alex was pushed back to the tail of the overall top 10 by the time the cars rounded the first right-hander but he soon re-passed the RML Chevrolet of compatriot Tom Chilton for ninth.

Remaining fourth in class, Alex pressed on as contact again became an issue but on lap four things got far too close for comfort when Chilton barged into him and the net result was a drop down the order to 15th place overall and sixth in the Independents.

Again able to battle back impressively, the second year racer maintained his composure and while he wasn’t able to claim any higher than sixth in the Independents Trophy, just 0.7 seconds adrift of the BMW of Stefano D’Aste, he did claw his way back into 11th position in the outright classification.

“We had good pace over one lap this weekend, in the races we just didn’t perform though”, said the Cumbrian, “Both starts were pretty rubbish and there was lots of contact, it was more like a BTCC [British Touring Car Championship] race than a WTCC one – you got hit at nearly every corner.

“There was a lack of grip, the surface was really slippery, and the track is very wide too so I don’t think that helped what was going on. It was the first flyaway race as well so everyone was probably hungry for success and taking a lot of risks and pulling some silly moves. In race two, the contact from [Tom] Chilton was completely his fault, I was just taken out.”

As the season enters its most crucial phase, with only eight rounds now remaining as the WTCC crisscrosses the globe, Alex heads into the five week break ahead of the next event still third in the Yokohama Independents Trophy – 28 points clear of his closest rival.

“Before the next round we just need to look more at the race set-ups as we know this weekend we’ve been quick over one lap”, he added, “The car felt good from the start of the weekend, if we do some race simulations and work on those then we should be back up there in the podium fight.”

Next on the FIA World Touring Car Championship calendar is a visit to the United States of America with rounds 17 and 18 of the season taking place at Sonoma, in California, on 7th/8th September.

Provisional 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd16):
10th Alex MacDowall, 73pts

Provisional 2013 FIA WTCC Yokohama Independents Trophy Driver Standings (after Rd16):
3rd Alex MacDowall, 88pts

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