Alex MacDowall is confident of putting himself back in contention for the Yokohama Independents’ trophy when the 2012 World Touring Car Championship arrives in Northern Africa for rounds five and six of the season.
Returning after a year off the calendar, the Circuit Moulay El Hassan in Marrakech marks the Carlisle racers’ first experience of racing in Africa and on a street circuit.
The 4.5km circuit features two long straights with hairpins at either end and chicanes down both straights. MacDowall feels that the Marrakech street circuit will suit his bamboo engineering Chevrolet Cruze and is looking to replicate his Monza performances.
“It’s going to be another new challenge for me and I really am looking forward to it”, explains the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star, “Realistically, Marrakech ought to be much more suited to our car and we should definitely be aiming to qualify well inside the top 12 to get into the second part of qualifying, like we did at Monza – that’s really important.
“From what I’ve seen of the Marrakech WTCC races in the past there’s always a lot of action, especially at the chicanes, so the races will be tough. I’m confident we’ll have a good car though and be able to challenge at the front in the Independents Trophy.”
Valencia saw MacDowall struggle and he left Spain fifth in the Yokohama Independents’ having arrived as the joint Championship leader. He picked up a brace of eighths in class to score two points over the weekend.
“The weight of the ballast on our car really did hurt us in Valencia” reflected Alex, “It was a tough weekend, tougher than we expected, but at least we scored a couple of points which could be really important at the end of the season.
“After such a good start to my WTCC career at Monza, it was disappointing not to be further up the order in Valencia but we’re not dwelling on that – I’m looking forward to being back among the front runners in Marrakech and getting back on the Independents podium.”
MacDowall’s first taste of the Circuit Moulay El Hassan will be on Friday, 13 April with a one hour test session getting underway at 14.30 UK time, with the first free practice at 10.30am UK time on Saturday, 14 April while Free Practice two is at 14.15 and qualifying at 17.15.
Rounds five and six of the season will be live on Eurosport on Sunday, 15 April – starting at 1pm and 4pm, with the races due to get underway at 13.20 and 16.20.