FIA WTCC independent front runner, Alex MacDowall, saw a return to some good fortune and form this weekend at the Race of America at the Sonoma Raceway.

The youngest Brit in the series showed his true race pace and qualified in fifth on the grid and near the front for race one as top independent. He followed up his best Q2 lap from Saturday to finish fourth in race one again as top independent driver, passing bamboo engineering team mate James Nash and knocking on the door of Yvan Muller's third place at times.

Understandably, the Cumbrian was pleased with his third Yokohama trophy win of the season and took inspiration from a certain Fernando Alonso for his race one first lap manoeuvre on fellow Chevrolet driver, Pepe Oriola.

Related Articles

"It's brilliant to get that result," a delighted Alex said, "I thought being on the outside for the first corner, with Nash being on the inside for Turn Two, we were going to struggle but they all braked early so I nipped around the outside - kind of like an Alonso move - and pulled it off. It was pretty much straightforward after that.

"I didn't want to take any big risks with Muller, it was good to follow him and see where he was quick and then it was a case of just doing qualifying style laps before backing off at the end. We knew over a race distance we'd be quick, it's good to win again."

Race two didn't exactly go to plan. A misjudgement with the clutch for the standing start saw the former Silverline Chevrolet BTCC racer finish well down in 15th overall and sixth in class. He now looks ahead to Japan in under a fortnight's time.

"We have a flashing light that comes on in the car when you're at the correct bite point for the clutch, a warning light came on at the start of race two so I thought it meant I was at the bite but the car just bogged down," an annoyed Alex explained, "It was a real disappointment but we showed good pace on the whole this weekend, hopefully we can be just as strong again at Suzuka."

MacDowall ends the USA leg of the series eleventh overall in the championship with 86 points and third in the Yokohama trophy for independents on 103 closing the gap on equal first placed drivers, Michel Nykjaer and Nash (134 apiece) to 31 after Sonoma and is still in contention for a shout at the title.

by Dexter Fielding