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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Cumbrian driver confident despite China crisis

Carlisle driver Alex MacDowall still has his sights set on a top-three finish in the World Touring Car Championships Independents’ Trophy despite two traumatic races in China.

Alex MacDowall photo
Alex MacDowall

It all started smoothly for MacDowall when he posted the best time of all in Friday’s test session at Shanghai International Circuit. But he got involved in a multi-car pile-up at the third corner in the first race when lying fourth.

The damage to his Chevrolet Cruze ended a run of eight consistently strong points-scoring races.

With 30 minutes between races, mechanics at his Bamboo Engineering team pulled ot all the stops to ensure his car was ready for the next round.

Aiming to make amends for the disappointment of the previous race, MacDowall but endured another incident packed race.

Contact from the fast-starting BMW of Norbert Michelisz, as the Hungarian tried to slice past on the inside at turn one, knocked the Chevrolet sideways.

Recovering the car brilliantly, MacDowall was then put wide into the second right-hander and by the time he was able to recover, more than half of the grid had streamed past.

Ending the first lap in 19th place overall, the 21-year-old, from Tarraby, Carlisle, mounted a determined fightback and just missed out on breaking into the Independents points – eventually taking 17th overall and 10th in class.

“I’m not sure what happened with Michelisz at the start of race two, I looked in my mirrors and everything was OK but I got a knock as I turned in,” he said. “Then I was hit again and had to take to the grass which ruined the race.

“It was a bad weekend really but we’re still fourth in the Independents and only a point away from the overall top 10 ahead of Macau – anything can happen there.”

MacDowall will press his championship claims in the World Touring Car Championship’s blue riband event and grand finale at the Circuito da Guia street circuit in Macau on November 17 and 18.

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