MACDOWALL BATTLES WHIPLASH TO DELIVER STRONG SILVERSTONE SHOWING Silverline Chevrolet's Alex MacDowall produced three excellent race drives during the latest outing for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship over the weekend, 21st/22nd...
MACDOWALL BATTLES WHIPLASH TO DELIVER STRONG SILVERSTONE SHOWING
Silverline Chevrolet's Alex MacDowall produced three excellent race drives during the latest outing for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship over the weekend, 21st/22nd August -- the Carlisle teenager coming within just 0.1 seconds of his second podium of the year in round 19.
Once again proving his outstanding pace in the UK's biggest race series, the 19-year-old from Carlisle posted the third fastest time in qualifying and was the 'best of the rest' behind the LPG-fuelled Team Aon Ford Focus pairing of Tom Onslow-Cole and Tom Chilton.
Lining up alongside team-mate, and championship leader, Jason Plato on the second row of the grid for round 19, Alex made a decent start but Plato's was better and into Copse Corner Alex had to settle for fourth as the sister Chevrolet Cruze held the inside line. Running nose-to-tail throughout, Alex had to be satisfied with fourth place but he clearly proved he was the faster of the two.
Starting round 20 from his earlier finishing position of fourth, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star unfortunately got too much wheelspin and slipped to sixth off the grid. Running behind Plato once more everything looked ok but on lap two, heavy contact from Paul O'Neill forced Alex to drop to ninth.
Receiving substantial damage to the exhaust and rear bodywork of his Cruze, and also suffering whiplash in the process, Alex continued in spirited fashion and worked his way onto the tail of the train of cars battling over sixth place. Dicing hard with Gordon Shedden's Honda Civic and Steven Kane's BMW, in the end Alex took ninth from a very hard-fought encounter.
Obviously suffering the effects of the whiplash sustained in race two as he prepared for the third and final outing of the weekend, Alex's condition wasn't helped when a malfunction with his car at the start led to him being stranded on the grid. He was avoided by all except the BMW of Martin Depper who slammed into the back of the Chevrolet causing significant damage.
Remarkably, Alex managed to get going in 19th and last position and he eventually made his way through the order into the top 10 with a committed, gutsy and determined drive to bag his third points-paying finish of the weekend against all the odds. He also moves into 11th in the standings.
"In the end it turned out to be a tough event but I'm happy to have got a good finish under my belt in the first race after a lot of bad luck recently", commented Alex, "We were strong from the start of the weekend and in qualifying it was only the two Fords that were unsurprisingly quicker than us. It's a shame my start wasn't better in the first race, without that we would have been on the podium.
"The contact from (Paul) O'Neill in race two left us with quite a bit of damage and gave me whiplash and that was made worse in race three when the car got stuck on the grid and I was hit from behind really hard. I'm pretty sore but to come through all of that with three points scores isn't bad at all."
There are just two weeks to wait until the next three rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season which will take place at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland on 4th/5th September. Not only does the event mark the category's annual visit north of the border, it will also be Alex's maiden experience of the undulating Fife track.
2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship driver standings: 1st Jason Plato, 171pts; 11th Alex MacDowall, 47pts