WTCC Rookie MacDowall Happy To Salvage Points In Valencia

Alex MacDowall declared himself happy to have scored Yokohama Independents Trophy points in rounds three and four of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Valencia in Spain on Sunday, 1st April, after an incredibly tough weekend at the wheel of his Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze.Arriving at the four kilometre Ricardo Tormo Circuit in the joint lead of the Independents standings, the 21-year-old from Carlisle knew the second weekend of his maiden season in the globe's premier touring car series would be a huge challenge - the sole aim had to be achieving any points possible.Running with maximum ballast again, as at Monza during the first event of the season due to the continued success of the sister 'works' Chevrolets run by reigning champions RML, the British Touring Car Championship graduate had a literal mountain to climb.From the start of the event, and with nothing in the way of testing prior to the first brief practice run on Saturday, 31st March, Alex and his team were unable to find a suitable set-up and balance which frustratingly culminated in missing out on the decisive second part of qualifying by just 0.1 seconds.Posting a best lap of 1m43.951 seconds (138.70 km/h), the Cumbrian was still within a second of the outright pole position and little more than 0.7 seconds shy of the Independents Trophy pole. So competitive was the session though, he ended up in 14th place - just missing the coveted top 12 cut. Round three proved to be a largely uneventful race for Alex, although after slipping to 15th overall early on he did regain the lost position on lap five and held station until the 13th and final tour when BMW driver Mehdi Bennani managed to get ahead - dropping the Briton back to eighth in class.Starting round four from the seventh row once again, he climbed into 13th place overall and seventh position in the Independents classification on the opening lap. He was then pushed back to eighth in class the next time around before regaining the spot on lap four when Darryl O'Young dropped out.Remaining seventh in the Independents Trophy until lap eight, Alex slipped back to eighth and then maintained the place to the flag - 14th position overall. Working incredibly hard to salvage points from an event which looked unlikely to deliver many, if any at all, the Bamboo racer concluded his second weekend in the WTCC fifth in the Yokohama Independents Trophy title chase."At least we got a point in each race and didn't bin it", commented Alex, "If I can keep plugging away on weekends when things aren't going so well then we'll be in the mix, but we still need to do better than we have here in Valencia."After a bad qualifying we knew it would be tough in the races, carrying all that ballast did hurt us a lot. Obviously I can't be that happy, but when you consider we're running 50 kilograms heavier than the SEATs and 40 kilograms heavier than the BMWs it's not been such a bad weekend on a track that just didn't suit us."He added: "The driving standards in WTCC are a lot higher than in Britain, the drivers just don't make mistakes - I tried to put as much pressure on people as I could but they didn't crack. Valencia is a very hard track to overtake on anyway, it was a very tough weekend but to score points is good."Alex now has just two weeks to wait until the third event of the WTCC season, rounds five and six, which takes place at the Marrakech street circuit in Morocco on 14th/15th April."I'm sure Marrakech will suit us a lot more than Valencia", added the WTCC rookie, "It'll be my first ever time racing on a street circuit but hopefully we'll be back where we should be and fighting for the Independents podium."2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd4):1st Yvan Muller, 88pts; 11th Alex MacDowall, 10pts 2012 FIA WTCC 'Yokohama Independents Trophy' Driver Standings (after Rd4):1st Pepe Oriola, 31pts; 5th Alex MacDowall, 16pts

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