DARRYL O’Young doubled up with two Yokohama Independents Trophy wins at the final round of the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship in Macau.
The Hong Kong driver fulfilled his dream of taking victory at a circuit he considers one of his home tracks when he took both Independents race wins in his bamboo engineering Chevrolet Cruze.
Both bamboo drivers had been chasing Independents wins this weekend after a strong qualifying on Friday. Darryl took his third Independents pole in a row at Macau, with a lap fast enough to secure fifth on the grid while Alex lined up 10th overall and fifth of the Independent runners.
As the lights changed to green at the start of the opening race, both drivers got clean starts and held their positions through the first few turns.
A few corners later MacDowall was caught up in the inevitable first lap pile-up, but escaped unscathed and was able to continue in 10th place. Up ahead, O’Young was the last car to get through before the crash and was able to keep with the leaders.
As a result, Darryl’s charge for the Independents victory was never challenged as he settled into sixth overall and the only Independent runner in the leading pack.
On Lap Four the works Chevrolet of Huff pulled into the pits allowing the rest of the pack to move up one place.
As a result Darryl crossed the line fifth to take the Independent’s win while Alex was ninth overall and fourth in class.
While Darryl celebrated his first win of the year, Alex was confident he could do the same in Race Two as he started from overall pole as a result of the reversed grid system.
But at the start he was powerless to stop Norbert Michelisz who made a flying start and passed him into the first corner. However Alex wasn’t about to let him go, and took the place back at the start of Lap Two.
A lap later it all changed again, as Alain Menu had crept up in his works Chevrolet and passed the Cumbrian for the lead. Alex ran a bit wide and lost another two places, dropping down to fourth.
Regaining composure, his dreams of staging a comeback were short-lived as he was knocked by Yvan Muller and sent careering into the barrier at high speed.
Thankfully unhurt, he was able to walk away as the Safety Car was deployed to remove the debris from the track.
With Alex out of the race, bamboo’s hopes rested on Darryl who was seventh overall as the Safety Car pulled in at the end of Lap Eight and the race restarted.
And just a few corners in, the only other two Independents ahead of him, Michelisz and Pepe Oriola had coming together and both ended up in the wall.
As result Darryl was promoted to fifth and lead Indy driver, a position he held all the way to the flag to score his second win of the day.
“I am so happy with these two wins, especially here at Macau,” he said. “I call this my home circuit so to take two victories here is incredible for me and is almost a dream come true.
“In the first race I was in a good position when the incident happened as I was the last car in the leading pack so I was able to create a huge gap to the cars behind.
I tried to stick with the front runners as much as possible but in the end I knew it was more important to bring the car home and not push and do something silly as the win was there for the taking.
“To win the second race as well was just amazing. That was tough race because so much was happening. People were colliding everywhere and it gave me a chance to win again.
It was a shame for Alex as he was looking good for the win there, but thankfully he wasn’t hurt.”
MacDowall added: “It’s racing, and it’s something you just can’t help but I can’t deny I wasn’t gutted to be taken out of that second race,” he said.
“This has been my first time here at Macau and I’d hoped I could get an outright podium in the second race but today it just wasn’t to be.
“It’s been a great season for me, and I’d like to thank everyone at bamboo engineering for giving me a car to really challenge with in my rookie year. It didn’t go our way today but I have to be pleased with what we’ve achieved together this year.”
Team Principal Richard Coleman admitted it was a day of highs and lows. “It was a shame that Alex was taken out like that in the second race. It was his chance to get an outright podium and the crash was totally beyond his control.
“But what a great day it has been for Darryl. He’s always had bad luck at Macau in the past so he really wanted to do well here this time. He certainly did that.
He was up with the front runners in the first race and took the win, and then to do it again in the second was great.
“Winning the final two Independents races of the year is the perfect way to end a season, and we’re all delighted. The team had worked so hard to rebuild the car on Thursday night and this is the perfect reward for everyone.
Zoe Burn Motorsport