Alex MacDowall is looking forward to next weekend's visit to Knockhill as much as any event so far on the 2011 calendar, believing the Fife track offers one of his best chances yet of securing his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory.
The BTCC's annual visit to Scotland, which this year takes place on September 3-4, is one of the most important events of the season for the Carlisle driver – in actual fact, it's very much a 'home' race meeting with the MacDowall family originally hailing from Ayrshire.
During his debut season in the UK's premier motor racing championship last year, MacDowall starred at Knockhill by taking his second career pole position in touring cars and also setting a new qualifying lap record for the 1.3-mile circuit with a scintillating effort.
In the first of the weekend's three races, he went on to secure a well deserved second place and also posted the fastest lap to underline his pace. Had he not been jumped at the start by the Honda of Gordon Shedden - who has unrivalled Knockhill knowledge and is also the track's Business Development Manager - he certainly had the speed to claim his maiden BTCC win.
So far this year the 20-year-old has two podiums to his credit and he arrives in Scotland next week seventh in the championship, despite having suffered some serious misfortune. Enjoying his best weekend of 2011 last time out at Snetterton though, bagging a healthy total of 26 points, the Silverline Chevrolet driver maintains high hopes of pushing for a top five championship finish.
“Last year was great so we know the car will be good around Knockhill”, he said, “We had a test at Donington last Thursday which went really well – me and Jason (Plato) were both there so we got through a lot of set-up changes. Qualifying will be more crucial than ever next weekend with so few places to overtake at Knockhill.
“I know I can go a step further than last year and achieve my first win, the track suits my driving style and the Chevrolet Cruze is the best handling chassis in the field so it's pole or bust!
“I'm seventh in the championship but it's still quite tight behind so I need another good points scoring weekend to give me a safe gap.”