Knockhill set to provide fresh challenge
Knockhill Circuit in Fife hosts rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship next weekend, 4th/5th September, and will mark Alex MacDowall’s first experience of the challenging Scottish track at the wheel of a touring car.
As the surname suggests, Alex’s family originates from Scotland – his late grandfather was born and bred in Ayrshire and members of the MacDowall family still reside there – so the upcoming event is very much a ‘home’ affair for the Carlisle-based teenager.
So far in his maiden season of BTCC action, Alex has been a revelation with outstanding pace matched by determined race performances at the wheel of his immaculately prepared Silverline Chevrolet Cruze.
Although he has encountered some seriously bad luck along the way, including sustaining a whiplash injury at Silverstone National Circuit last weekend, the 19-year-old has certainly proven his ability to be a true front-runner and future title contender.
Fully recovered from the hefty start-line impact during round 21, which occurred when his RML run Cruze struggled to get off the line due to an engine malfunction, Alex is relishing the prospect of taking on Knockhill’s 1.27-mile layout for only the second time in his motorsport career – the first coming back in 2007 when he had a one-off drive in the SEAT Cupra Championship.
“We’re looking forward to a good weekend at Knockhill, I think the Cruze will be strong as the car has a good balance over the kerbs and a strong front-end and that’s exactly what you need there”, he said, “ Thankfully the whiplash is fine now, I didn’t suffer from it too much, and the car will be ok for Knockhill. It took a pretty heavy hit but the team is fitting a new rear-end and boot floor.
“I haven’t been up to Knockhill for some time – the last time I was there was a one-off drive in the SEATs back in 2007. I did do a track day in my road car earlier in the week just to get back up to speed with the racing line and it all went well. If we can qualify on the front two rows we have a strong chance of a podium, at Silverstone we were close to it so I aim to be again at Knockhill.”
Continuing the strong link to Scottish motorsport is Alex’s father Ray, no mean competitor himself and a former BTCC driver back in the late 1980s. During that decade he won two Scottish Saloon Car Championship titles and also held the lap record for 1600cc cars for more than 10 years!
Although the visit to the Fife track takes Alex north of the border from his home in Cumbria, it is actually his second closest venue in terms of both distance and travelling time – 128 miles and just a couple of hours by road.
Free practice and qualifying for the Scottish rounds of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will take place next Saturday, 4th September, with all three races set to follow on Sunday, 5th September at 11.45, 14.10 and 17.00. Raceday, as ever, will be screened live across the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4.
2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship driver standings:
1st Jason Plato, 171pts; 11th Alex MacDowall, 47pts