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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Cumbrian racer confident of WTCC success despite Morocco setback

Carlisle motor-racing star Alex MacDowall is confident he can enjoy an eye-catching maiden season in the World Touring Car Championship despite back-to-back disasters.

Alex MacDowall photo
Alex MacDowall

MacDowall endured two tough races on the Marrakech street circuit in Morocco last time when his Chevrolet Cruze suffered mechanical failure.

It limited the 21-year-old to just three points in the Independents Class he is contesting and came after a tough round in Valencia.

Yet he has been able to retain fifth in the Independents title race after an impressive debut season in the WTCC in which he has belief age and experience against seasoned drivers.

MacDowall, from Tarraby on the outskirts of Carlisle, will aim to bounce back when he tackles on of Europe’s longest race tracks, the Slovakia Ring, near Bratislava, this weekend, when he aims to recover some of the ground lost in Valencia and Marrakech to the BMWs and SEATs.

He said: “The last couple of events have been a bit unfortunate, it all went pretty much to plan at Monza but it’s been a bit downhill from there since so the aim next weekend is to try and get back to where we were at Monza.

“I need to start fighting my way back up the points in the Independents championship, we just need to turn a good qualifying into two strong race results.

“I know I’m just as good as the other Independent guys, they’ve just got more experience in WTCC and that’s all the difference has been. We’re getting there though, hopefully in Slovakia we’ll be able to have another good qualifying, like in Marrakech, but turn it into some big points finishes.”

At almost six kilometres in length, the Slovakia Ring is one of Europe’s longest race circuits and this weekend’s event will mark the first time the track has appeared on the WTCC schedule.

That will give MacDowall, who drives for Bamboo Engineering, extra confidence as it means none of his rivals will enjoy the advantage of having greater knowledge of the track.

He said: “I’ve looked at the track on the internet through some You Tube videos and it does look quite twisty, so I think it will favour the BMWs.

“I think we still have a good chance to stick the car up there on the grid though in qualifying, that’s where we’ve been strong so far this year. We don’t have any more testing than usual so working on race runs in the practice time we do have will be more important than going for qualifying pace. It’s an important weekend to get back up the points table, hopefully we’ll be able to do that and close the gap a bit.”

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