Title contender MacDowall focused on class wins in China
Carlisle’s Alex MacDowall is confident he can add to his 2013 tally of four Yokohama Independents Trophy race victories when the FIA World Touring Car Championship resumes at China’s Shanghai International Circuit next weekend, 2nd/3rd November, for the penultimate event of the season.
Well over a month since the previous race meeting at Suzuka in Japan, where he produced a season’s best qualifying performance of second overall before securing his third outright WTCC podium of the year and fourth Independents win, the class title battle is at a crucial stage ahead of rounds 21 and 22.
Alex will arrive in Shanghai third in the Independents Trophy standings, 32 points shy of the lead which is currently held by Bamboo Engineering team-mate James Nash, but the Cumbrian is certain he can eat into his compatriot’s advantage ahead of the Macau finale on 16th/17th November.
“I need to try and narrow the points gap to James [Nash] next weekend and then focus on Macau where we’ll be going for all-out attack”, he commented, “We can win the Independents title, that’s still the aim, but we do need to beat James in Shanghai and take away some big results.”
With a brace of Independents wins from the previous two events, at Sonoma in the USA and Suzuka, 22-year-old Alex has tapped into a rich vein of form and with confidence soaring the British driver has his sights set suitably high for the WTCC’s annual visit to China.
“It has to be about going for more Independents wins and the overall podium next weekend”, he added, “We suffered with understeer quite a lot in Shanghai last year but during the last round in Japan we found a set-up which worked well. We think we’ve cured the understeer so I’m looking forward to a strong weekend again.
“Qualifying should be good, there are some long straights in China which suit the Chevy and the Hondas will have the same weight penalty as us, 40 kilos, so that will level things up. We should have a good chance of qualifying high up the order at Shanghai which is where we need to be.”
For the final two race meetings of the season, Alex and the team will be running with a fresh livery featuring new sponsors ZENRISE, a premier Mind and Body Energy Drink which is developed and made in the USA, and Interush. In a change from the blue, white and grey livery which has been run all year, his Chevrolet Cruze will now sport a red colour scheme majoring on the ZENRISE branding.
Following a short test session at Shanghai on Friday, 1st November, the usual pair of WTCC practice sessions will take place on Saturday, 2nd November, ahead of qualifying at 14.10 (07.10 UK time). On Sunday, 3rd November, race one will get underway at 15.20 (08.20 UK time) with race two following at 16.20 (09.20 UK time). Live coverage will, as ever, be screened on the British Eurosport network.
Provisional 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd20):
11th Alex MacDowall, 108pts
Provisional 2013 FIA WTCC Yokohama Independents Trophy Driver Standings (after Rd20):
3rd Alex MacDowall, 118pts