MAIDEN BTCC PODIUM FOR MACDOWALL AT BRANDS HATCH GP Silverline Chevrolet's Alex MacDowall delivered on his undoubted promise in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with a fantastic maiden podium finish at Brands Hatch Grand Prix ...
MAIDEN BTCC PODIUM FOR MACDOWALL AT BRANDS HATCH GP
Silverline Chevrolet's Alex MacDowall delivered on his undoubted promise in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with a fantastic maiden podium finish at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 2nd May, during a rain-affected eighth round of the season.
Although taking the chequered flag a highly impressive fourth, just seven 10ths of a second behind the podium placings, the Carlisle 19-year-old -- the youngest driver in the series -- was promoted into third position post-race when original winner Tom Chilton was excluded from the results due to technical infringements.
Delighted to have recorded his first career BTCC podium in only his eighth race in the UK's biggest motor racing championship, Alex isn't resting on his laurels and now has his sights set on battling for more rostrums and potential wins as the season unfolds.
"Obviously it was good to be the lead Chevrolet driver in qualifying and then my approach was to just go for it in the races", said the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star, "I like racing in the wet so when it rained I felt pretty confident and we were mixing it up in the first race which really gave me a taste of what it's like in the BTCC at the front.
"In the second race it was real touring car action, I absolutely loved it and to finish in the top four was a great result. The racing was really good and to get the bonus of moving up to third after (Tom) Chilton's exclusion made things even better. There's no reason we can't challenge for even more at Oulton Park for the next rounds, I can't wait to get back in the car."
Battling hard during the wet first race, Alex diced well with Plato and fellow front-runner Paul O'Neill before taking an eventual seventh place finish when a tap to the rear of his car at Druids forced him wide and out of sixth place.
The all-action second encounter, round eight, delivered a masterful performance from the Cumbrian when he maintained tremendous composure to put in the best drive of his short touring car career to date. Up into fifth place following an early Safety Car period, Alex took fourth with a terrific piece of driving into Hawthorn Bend on lap 11 and piled on the pressure to third placed Tom Onslow-Cole.
Another Safety Car period six laps from the finish closed the pack up again and on the 16th tour, Alex steered his Chevrolet Cruze into the top three for the first time past Mat Jackson at Druids. Pushed back to fourth by Jackson into Graham Hill Bend, Alex then slipped to fifth at Surtees during some robust exchanges but he instantly regained fourth place when Jackson had a spin.
For round nine, a drying line on the track meant drivers faced a difficult choice on whether to run full wet-weather tyres or a mixture of slicks on the front and treaded rubber on the rear. Alex went for the latter of the two options and it was definitely the correct way to go as the race progressed.
Sadly, another good points-scoring finish went begging when contact from Chilton at Paddock Hill Bend on lap 11 forced Alex off into the gravel at great speed -- the incident ripping the right-rear wheel away from his RML-run car.
Reflecting on the final race, Alex said: "We made the right choice on tyres, the people who started on slick tyres on the front and wets on the rears really started to come on strong as the race wore on. It was a real shame I got hit by (Tom) Chilton at Paddock Hill Bend as we could have had another good result. The contact just ripped the wheel off, there's not a lot you can do on three wheels!"
Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will take place five weeks from now at Cheshire's Oulton Park Island Circuit over the weekend 5th/6th June.