Alex MacDowall - Photo Credit: fiawtcc.com

MacDowall was a frontrunner in his class all weekend - Photo Credit: fiawtcc.com

bamboo engineering driver Alex MacDowall described his first weekend in the World Touring Car Championship as 'the perfect start'.

The former BTCC driver leaves the Italian venue as the joint leader of the Yokohama Trophy standings, having finished eighth overall in Race 1 and second best independent and then seventh overall and third in the class in Race 2.

In that second race he was fighting for the lead of the class but lost ground when he made a small mistake.

“I'm happy with this, to come away from my first ever WTCC event tied at the top is great,” he said.

“I'm pleased with a second and third but I still think I could've won that final race had it not been for that small mistake.

“But this is the perfect start for me. I've had a lot to learn this weekend, and to leave Monza joint leader is a good way to make my debut in this championship.”

Teammate Pasquale di Sabatino was making his touring car debut after a switch from single-seaters, and finished 14th overall and seventh in class in his first race. He was forced to retire from Race 2 after sustaining damage.

“It has been a steady weekend, I have had a lot to learn here so it has been hard work,” he said. “I was happy with the first race result but was sure I could have finished higher in the second. It was a shame I had to retire.”

Team Principal Richard Coleman commented: “It's a great, positive start to the 2012 season for us to be tied at the top of the Yokohama Independents Championship.

“Alex has made a fantastic start. This was his first weekend and he was driving sensibly. In the first race he did well to come back from that incident at the start. In Race Two any one of those four drivers could have won it. Had he not had that little mistake he would probably have won but it's all luck sometimes. He made a great save and deserved that third place.

“From Pasquale's side of the garage it's been a solid start. It's still very new to him and he's struggled a bit to put the race together but he's very much up for the challenge. Once he finds his feet here and gets used to the car I'm sure he is going to become a very good touring car driver.”