The Rockingham BTCC weekend started very promisingly for series rookie Alex MacDowall, out-qualifying his Silverline Chevrolet teammate Jason Plato by two places on the grid to line up third, just four-tenths off Pole Position.
However, MacDowall was one of many drivers caught out by the drying Northamptonshire circuit. He was one of many to equip their front wheel drive cars with slick front tyres, but wet rears. After managing to hold a position inside the top five for the early laps the decision returned to haunt the 19-year-old as his rear tyres began to overheat.
Unlike many others MacDowall opted not to pit for new tyres, instead struggling on, unfortunately falling out of the points positions to finish the race 12th.
That result was, ultimately, to set the tome for the second and third races of the weekend as it placed him right in the middle of the midfield of the BTCC pack, where aggressive driving is the norm.
While fighting just outside the top ten in race two MacDowall ran wide in a battle with Martin Johnson, dropping the Chevrolet Cruze further back to 18th. From there the pace that had served him so well in qualifying was on show again, fighting way back up 12th. In the third race, once more starting 12th, MacDowall was involved in a first lap accident with Matt Hamliton and David Pinkney, Pickney's Vectra hitting MacDowall, breaking the Cruze's rear suspension and forcing Alex into early retirement.
“It's been a very disappointing end to the weekend unfortunately, the wrong tyre choice in the first race really set the tone for the rest of the day and then we had some bad luck with contact in both of the other races”, said Alex, looking back over the weekend. “It's a real shame as in qualifying I proved what we can do, it was great to set the third fastest time and I'm just disappointed we couldn't benefit from that.”
This weekend Alex will look to repeat his qualifying performance, with hopefully better luck in the races as the BTCC competes over May 1-2 on the Brands Hatch GP Circuit.
Photo Credit: BTCC.net