MACDOWALL SECURES BRILLIANT SECOND WIN OF 2009 AT CROFT ELF Renault Clio Cup title contender Alex MacDowall continued his fantastic run of form at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend, 13th/14th June, with his second career win...
MACDOWALL SECURES BRILLIANT SECOND WIN OF 2009 AT CROFT
ELF Renault Clio Cup title contender Alex MacDowall continued his fantastic run of form at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire over the weekend, 13th/14th June, with his second career win during Saturday's ninth round and a fighting second place in Sunday's round 10.
Having now finished on the podium in eight of the 10 races to have been contested so far this year, the 18-year-old from Carlisle is just 34 points shy of the championship lead and has increased his advantage over the chasing pack to almost 100 points.
Glorious sunny weather greeted the Clio Cup drivers on Saturday at the 2.12-mile track and Alex certainly made the most of it at the wheel of his ECM-backed, Total Control Racing-run car by scorching to a brace of excellent pole positions. He was also the only competitor to lap under the 1 minute 32 second bracket with his fastest time of 1m31.968 seconds (83.18mph).
At the start of round nine, the Cumbrian got away from the line well and coped superbly with the immense pressure applied by chief rival Philip Glew into Clervaux to hold onto the lead as the cars weaved through the first couple of corners.
For the 12-lap duration, Alex maintained a gap of around seven 10ths of a second to Glew who, try as he might, wasn't able to force his less experienced challenger into a mistake. Piling on the pressure, particularly into the complex and hairpin, Glew wasn't able to break Alex's concentration and the teenager claimed a memorable victory.
Not only that, the performance was Alex's first 'clean sweep' of his career with pole position, the race win and also two bonus points by posting the round nine fastest lap -- just a 10th of a second outside multiple Clio Cup Champion Paul Rivett's existing Croft lap record.
"It was a great race", commented the teenager after round nine, "Phil (Glew) got an awesome start, he tried to squeeze me onto the grass but I kept my foot in and then the race was quite easy from my point of view. Phil was right there but when Stefan (Hodgetts) got third I thought he might have put Phil under more pressure than he did. TCR did a great job with the car, it was a fantastic result."
On Sunday, in front of live TV cameras which beamed the action across the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4, Alex made a good start but Glew managed to edge ahead into the lead at Clervaux.
Staying tight on the tail of the experienced championship leader, Alex remained in second place until lap eight when Glew ran wide at the chicane on some oil which had been deposited. The TCR man also got slightly out of shape by dropping a wheel on the grass but he kept his foot on the power and motored past into the lead on the run to Tower Bend.
At the hairpin though Glew moved back ahead and from that point on the positions remained static with Alex taking the chequered flag on lap 12 just 0.381 seconds behind, missing out on the fastest race lap by a mere eight 1,000ths of a second.
"I'm pleased with second place as it's been the best weekend yet", said Alex, "When I got ahead on lap eight there was oil on the track at the chicane, (Phil) Glew went off onto the grass but I just put one wheel on the grass and managed to get the lead into Tower. He got me back into the hairpin but, even so, I'm happy."
Alex will be back in race action three weeks from now, 4th/5th July, at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in Northamptonshire for the 11th and 12th rounds of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup -- racing as part of the British round of the World Series by Renault. Before then on Wednesday, 24th June, an official championship test day will be held at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk.
Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd10): 1st Philip Glew, 301pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 267pts; 3rd Andrew Herron, 191pts