Podium repeat MacDowall's target as WTCC returns to USA
Cumbrian saloon car racer Alex MacDowall is aiming for a repeat of last year’s double Yokohama Independents Trophy podium finish at California’s Sonoma Raceway when the FIA World Touring Car Championship makes its return to the American track next weekend, 7th/8th September.
With the 2012 visit marking the WTCC’s first ever race meeting at the famous USA venue, formerly known as Sears Point, the competitors began the event on a level playing field and Alex starred with second in class in each race.
Going into rounds 17 and 18 of the current campaign third in the Independents Trophy standings, the Carlisle 22-year-old is determined to get his hands on more silverware after several frustrating race meetings where he has been prevented from adding to his tally of seven class podiums.
Despite showing requisite pace in recent events, a point proven by claiming Yokohama Independents pole position in Argentina last time out, the Chevrolet Cruze driver has been stung by a combination of misfortune and some overtly rough panel-bashing action which has hampered his podium charge.
Knowing his Bamboo Engineering-prepared car performed very competitively at the 4.03-kilometre Sonoma circuit this time last year, Alex has high hopes of returning to the sort of front-running form which brought him Independents Trophy wins and outright WTCC podium finishes earlier in the year.
“Hopefully the visit to America should be the same as last season”, he commented, “Sonoma was a good event for us, the Chevy worked well there so we just need to draw on that experience, try and be a step ahead. I really think an outright podium is do-able but we need some more Independents Trophy wins just to close down that gap in the championship.”
As well as his attempts to reel-in the top two in the Independents Trophy standings, Alex also has his sights set on challenging for the first outright WTCC race victory of his career which he is determined to achieve before the end of the season.
“Although we’re in the last part of the season, there are still a lot of points up for grabs and I really want to try and get that first overall win”, he added, “Sonoma is probably the best track we go to, it’s a bit like a cross between Knockhill and Oulton Park in the UK – a real up and down circuit. We haven’t had lady luck on our side so far this year, but I’m confident in the car and my own ability.”
Following a brief half-hour test outing next Friday, 6th September, two further free practice sessions on Saturday, 7th September, will precede qualifying which starts at 22.00 (UK time).On Sunday, 8th September, round 17 of the season is scheduled to begin at 19.50 (UK time) with round 18 following at 22.20 (UK time). Both races are set to be screened live, as ever, on the British Eurosport network.
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