Carlisle’s Alex MacDowall retained his top three placing in the Yokohama Independents Trophy title race at Moscow Raceway in Russia over the weekend, 8th/9th June, despite his toughest outing of the season so far during rounds 11 and 12 of the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Enduring difficulties with grip issues throughout the event, from the opening test on Friday, 7th June, all the way through to the final race of the weekend, the Chevrolet Cruze driver had to be satisfied with a pair of top five Independents class finishes which at least earned vital points.
Concluding the WTCC’s maiden visit to the 2.46-mile track unsurprisingly perplexed, the 22-year-old is now setting his sights on the upcoming event at Porto in Portugal at the end of the month where he aims to get his Independents Trophy title bid back on course.
“Moscow is a very low grip circuit, a bit like Donington is in the UK, and we struggled to find a good set-up”, reflected Alex, “I was over-driving as well trying to get more out of the car, which didn’t help. It’s been a really tough weekend, one to put down to experience.
“We changed quite a bit with the set-up between qualifying and the races but you couldn’t really tell due to the lack of grip. It’s such a new track, there isn’t much rubber down, and it’s hard to drive perfectly when the car feels lazy and you’re missing the apex at each corner. Hopefully it’s a one off and we’ll be back where we should be at the next round. I want to be back on the podium in Porto.”
Lining-up an uncharacteristic 16th overall on the grid for race one, the Bamboo Engineering driver held position off the rolling start and did well to avoid a multi-car accident at Turn One before the Safety Car was deployed. Soon enough, the race was halted to facilitate the recovery of the stricken cars involved in the opening lap skirmish.
When racing proper resumed on lap six following a re-start behind the Safety Car, Alex pressed on and moved into 15th place on the subsequent tour – fifth in class –where he remained to the finish. Post-race though, the Cumbrian was elevated into 13th overall, still fifth in class, due to penalties for a couple of rivals.
Race two, round 12, was a very sedate affair for Alex who ran in 15th position during the early laps before climbing into 12th on lap five, sixth in the Independents Trophy, after profiting from contact between several cars. On the final lap he did manage to gain one further place, to move into 11th overall and fifth in class, at the expense of BMW driver Mehdi Bennani.
There is now a three week break in the FIA World Touring Car Championship calendar with rounds 13 and 14 taking place at the Circuito da Boavista in Porto, Portugal, on 29th/30th June.
2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd12):
9th Alex MacDowall, 73pts
2013 FIA WTCC Yokohama Independents Trophy Driver Standings (after Rd12):
3rd Alex MacDowall, 74pts