BTCCTouring Cars

Deserving MacDowall Ends Debut Year Just Outside Top Ten

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While his vastly more experienced teammate Jason Plato wrapped up the British Touring Car title at Brands Hatch Alex MacDowall finished the season just outside of the of the top ten in the points standings after an eventful weekend.

MacDowall once more showed he had speed in his Silverline Chevrolet car, qualifying fourth – the first driver on the grid not in contention for the title. He even sought to improve his position from the start looking around the outside of Matt Neal at Paddock Hill Bend only to find himself eased out wide and down to tenth as Mat Jackson and James Nash slipped past.

He spent the rest of the race fighting back. Jackson spun out from third to lift MacDowall to fifth, but his Cruze remained behind Nash until lap 13 when he re-took fourth position at Druids to claim eight points and move into tenth place in points, ahead of Andrew Jordan.

Race two saw a similar start, again from fourth the finishing order of race one setting the grid for race two. MacDowall tried to take second place from Matt Neal at Paddock Hill Bend, the pair running side-by-side around Druids before Neal dispatched MacDowall onto the grass on the exit of the corner. With only top quality car control stopping himself from spinning out the BRDC Rising Star rejoined the race, but down in 17th.

This time the fightback was too much to ask, after initial progress an overtaking move on Lea Wood at Paddock went awry, both cars skittering across the gravel trap, MacDowall's car smoking heavily as he toured back to the pits – ultimately to retire with power steering failure.

Jordan meanwhile had pulled level with MacDowall in the points standings and had bagged pole position on the reverse grid for race three – MacDowall's DNF leaving him starting 20th. A startling opening lap saw him gain seven places, but (after two safety car periods) his charge would fall short, only managing eleventh while Jordan claimed a win to move him clear in the points and leave MacDowall eleventh at the end of a close year of racing on 83 points.

The 19-year-old scored two pole positions during the season – at Snetterton and Knockhill – the former making him the youngest driver to claim the accolade in BTCC history. He also scored a maiden podium in the May meeting at Brands Hatch as well as a season's best second place around Knockhill.

“It's been a fantastic year and an absolute privilege to race for Silverline Chevrolet alongside a great driver like Jason,” Alex said. “There have been some really good highlights, especially my pole positions and podiums, but we have had some bad luck too. Congratulations to Jason though.”

“The team has been great, they've worked really hard all year and the Cruze is an incredible touring car. I've learned so much in my first season and although I'd have liked to have ended it in the top 10 in the championship, we gave it a great shot this weekend. I think I've shown I deserve to be in the BTCC so I hope we can be back next year.”

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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