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Independents’ glory for Alex MacDowall

Alex MacDowall heads into the second half of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship campaign having secured his maiden Yokohama Independents’ victory at the Salzburgring.

The Cumbrian racer had been on the pace all weekend around the high speed Austrian circuit and he secured pole for the Yokohama Independents’ by 0.4s and fifth overall. His qualifying time came without the assistance of a tow – which is meant to be worth 0.6s around the 4.225km circuit.

“I got the best out of the tyres for the first time this year really, I didn’t kill them on the out-lap and each time we made a small change to the set-up we went a bit quicker”, he said, “It was a really good session, fantastic to get my first Independents pole and the extra point that went with it.”

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Having been the fastest of the non works Chevrolet drivers’ in the warm up session, MacDowall headed into round eleven full of optimism and despite the SEAT Tuenti Racing Team car of Tiago Monteiro passing the British driver, MacDowall was able to run a solid pace throughout.

The mid race Safety Car period also played its part for MacDowall as it gave the Yokohama tyres on the #11 bamboo engineering Chevrolet Cruze a chance to cool down and once the track went live again, the British Touring Car Championship graduate was able to pile the pressure on Gabriele Tarquini and Monteiro.

Round twelve didn’t go according to plan for MacDowall. At the start, the bamboo engineering driver was forced out wide and this dropped him to the back end of the field and he recovered to fifteenth position before a puncture saw him end up in the gravel trap at the high speed turn nine.

“I got a knock on the rear quarter on the first lap which put me on the grass and I had to stay out there all the way round the corner until the train of cars had gone by”, said Alex, “I came back through reasonably well and then got a puncture about halfway through the race at the fastest corner on the track, just as [Alain] Menu had his.

“It’s the first puncture I’ve ever had in my racing career; I can’t believe the first one had to happen at 155mph! The Safety Car in the first race meant the tyres could have a bit of a breather, in the second one they were just getting hammered and that’s why the Chevys had problems.”

MacDowall’s first Yokohama Independents’ victory means that he is now in a clear sixth position ahead of the final European round of the season at Portimao in two weeks time.

“It’s fantastic to have the first win, it’s given me much more confidence and there’s a real buzz now in the whole team going into the next round at Portimao”, concluded MacDowall, who is currently 14th in the overall drivers’ Championship. “We were strong all weekend, right from the start, and the car worked really well. The championship is going to be tough to achieve so I’m just aiming now to try and get as many wins as we can for the rest of the season.”

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