Alex MacDowallBritish Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Alex MacDowall secured his 10th ELF Renault Clio Cup podium of the 2009 season at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend, 29th/30th August, with a tremendous drive through the order from ninth on the grid in the 15th round of the campaign.

While qualifying on Saturday morning didn’t go according to plan due to a small problem with the dampers on the 18-year-old’s car, he still managed to lap within two 10ths of a second of pole position with a time of 1m05.344 seconds (90.29mph) – a superb effort.

Uncharacteristically lining up on the fifth row of the grid for the first race of the weekend, Carlisle-based Alex got a good start and immediately began to make his presence felt at the sharp end as he made his way into the top five by lap two.

At the end of the sixth tour Alex gained another spot at the expense of Aron Smith, who was served with a drive-through penalty for a start-line indiscretion, and into lap seven a mere three 10ths of a second separated the Total Control Racing driver from third placed Tom Carnaby.

With the podium well within his sights Alex pressed on and by lap 11 he was in a position to make his move. Pulling alongside Carnaby at Luffield, the pair ran wheel-to-wheel into the 12th tour and Alex sealed the move by taking third place into Copse.

During the remaining seven laps, Alex pulled out a four second cushion over Carnaby while also closing to within just eight 10ths of a second of championship leader Philip Glew. In addition, he also posted the second fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m05.625 seconds.

Commenting on his latest podium success, the Cumbrian said: “I made a good start, didn’t really get boxed in and went around the outside of (James) Colburn at Copse. There were a lot of people going wide at the first corner but I judged it right and then into Becketts I passed (Aron) Smith for fifth.

“When I got into fourth place I started to catch Carnaby, he seemed to run really wide at Copse and get a good run so I decided to follow his line and it helped me get right onto the back of him and I then passed him at Luffield. He tried to come around the outside of me at Copse on the next lap but I kept the position and then I had the pace to catch the leaders.

“I was consistently doing fastest lap after fastest lap, the car was so hooked up and it was just a shame we had the damper problem in qualifying. If we had started on pole position, or the front row at least, I’m sure I could have won that race. I’m delighted to have another podium though.”

Sunday afternoon’s 16th round was totally luckless for Alex when damage incurred as he tried to avoid a first-corner collision resulted in an eventual retirement from the race on lap six, a harsh blow for his title aspirations. Nonetheless, thanks to Saturday’s impressive podium he retains the Vice-Champion’s position some 44 points clear of his nearest pursuer.

The penultimate race meeting of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup, rounds 17 and 18, will take place three weeks from now over the weekend 19th/20th September at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit in Northamptonshire.

Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Standings (after Rd16):
1st Philip Glew, 462pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 351pts; 3rd Andrew Herron, 307pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography