The youngest driver in this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship was a shining light at a dull and wet Brands Hatch for rounds seven, eight and nine of the series.
Nineteen-year old Alex MacDowall came home an impressive third overall in the second of the day’s races to take his first trophy in the series, in a day where the weather dictated the run of events.
In a processional first race of the day, the two Silverline Chevrolets came home sixth and eighth, with the youngster in the first of the two distinctive Cruzes to cross the line in extremely difficult weather conditions.
“It was very tricky out there,” said MacDowall. “The car was quite stable and gripped well, but the biggest problem was visibility – it’s hard to mount a challenge when you can’t see where you’re going.”
But MacDowall really shone in the second of the two races, bringing the Silverline-backed Chevrolet Cruze home in a solid third overall – but didn’t get a chance to celebrate on the podium. The Carlisle youngster didn’t go home empty handed, after provisional winner Tom Chilton’s Ford Focus was disqualified for being under weight and with an incorrect ride height.
“I had a great race,” said MacDowall. “After a chaotic weekend at Rockingham I felt I needed to give something back – it was still tricky out there because of the weather, but I was determined to get a good finish.”
Championship leader Jason Plato left Brands Hatch still at joint top of the table despite an afternoon of bad luck. An electrical fault in the second of the three races led to an early retirement, while a suspected sensor failure in race three led to a second DNF.
MacDowall encountered some bad luck of his own in the final of the day’s three races, after contact with Tom Onslow-Cole’s Ford caused damage to the Cruze’s rear axle, forcing him into the gravel on the exit from Paddock Hill Bend. The damage led to his retirement from the race.
The Silverline Chevrolet team are currently second in the manufacturers/constructors’ championship with 139 points – a position the team will build on after a five week break when the BTCC returns on June 6th at Oulton Park in Cheshire.