Carlisle racer Alex MacDowall encountered a frustrating outing at the Nurburgring in Germany last weekend as grip and handling issues led to an eighth place finish in the Silver Cup.

It was MacDowall’s most testing race so far in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup season.

MacDowall, who won the class title last year, endured a difficult start in the three-hour race, with contact to the No.159 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 compounding problems with rear-tyre wear and a general lack of grip.

After 50 minutes he handed the car over to Garage 59 team-mate Nicolai Kjaergaard from ninth position in the Silver Cup, with Valentin Hasse-Clot taking the Aston Martin to the finish.

Qualifying on Sunday morning saw the No.159 Aston Martin qualifying second in the Silver Cup and 11th overall on the 43-car grid, while the outset of the race saw MacDowall put wide on the opening lap, picking up a number of ‘marbles’ on the tyres from the dirty part of the track and almost immediately struggling with the level of grip offered.

Running just outside the overall top 10 through the first sequence of corners, he slipped down to 18th place and sixth in the Silver Cup. Working hard to limit the damage, during the second half of his stint contact from a Mercedes-AMG added to the difficulties. After further stints from Kjaergaard and Hasse-Clot, the team finished the race eighth in the Silver Cup and 19th overall.

“It was all a bit hectic on the first lap, I was pushed wide and picked up a lot of marbles and just didn’t have the pace in the car to stay where we’d started”, MacDowall said.

“The rear tyres started to go off very quickly and the car was sliding around a lot. Then, when the Mercedes hit me, it caused some damage to the rear of the car as well.

“The balance was really bad and it was just really hard work, so I was kind of relieved when we got to the pit-stop as it wasn’t enjoyable and I just had to hold on, really. The car is good on new tyres in qualifying, but on older tyres you get both understeer and oversteer – it just eats them up.”

Attention now turns to the season finale for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup on the weekend of October 9-10 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.