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Category: World Touring Car Championship

Darryl O'YoungHong Kong race driver Darryl O’Young was made to work hard for every inch on the track as he picked up three valuable points for the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy during the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) Race of USA.

Starting at overall P16 in the opening race, O’Young was involved in a pile up at Turn 2; the incident instantly dropped the Team STR driver to the bottom of the pack while also damaging the front right of his car.

It took the 32-year-old five laps to regain his initial position. Separate incidents regarding James Nash and Pepe Oriola in lap 9 and 10 benefited the newly wedded Chinese as he moved up two places to finish the race with independent P8, and overall P14.

In the next race, Darryl was engaged in a battle with fellow Hong Kong race driver Charles Ng for the majority of the race. O’Young eventually finished with independent P7 and overall P12 as Ng was disqualified shortly before the chequered flag.

“It was another tough weekend in Sonoma. I have to say the blame goes to my qualifying mistake that cost me a top 10 finishing position. I am looking forward to returning to Asia next month and to finishing to Asia next month,” says O’Young.

Upon the conclusion of the Race of USA, the current WTCC season now enters its final three races, with round 19 & 20 scheduled to be held at Suzuka in Japan in four weeks’ time.

Qualifying 1 at California – Independent P10 & Overall P16

“In qualifying, I was set for a top 5 position but I locked my brakes in the final sector which cost me my lap time. At the end, I qualified P16 and started from that position, there really is no chance for a good finish.”

Race 1 at California (2012 round 17) – Independent P8 & Overall P1

“In race 1, I got caught in a T1 crash which put me 20s behind the lead group. I fought hard to get back to 14th but it was the best I could do.”

Race 2 at California (2012 round 18) – Independent P7 & Overall P12

“In race 2, I had a good start and was up to 12th place, but in T4, I got hit off again and lost several positions. Again, it was a race full of battles and I came back to finish 12th place and 8th independent, which wasn’t too bad based on the circumstances.”

Sponsors LKM and A-Ha Coffee are the major forces behind Darryl’s pursuit of success in the 2012 FIM World Touring Car Championship. Please visit www.fiawtcc.com for more WTCC information and www.darryloyoung.com for the latest updates about Darryl.

Darryl O'YoungFresh from getting married with Amber last month in Vancouver, Hong Kong number one race driver Darryl O’Young is back on the track again. The Team STR racer is set to return to the Sonoma Raceway in California this weekend where the Race of USA is making its World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) debut.

“I am looking forward to the WTCC Race of USA. Sonoma is a special track for me, as I raced there quite a bit in my early Formula Ford and Formula Renault days,” said an excited O’Young who returned to the San Francisco Bay area since he lived there nearly 9 years ago.

Having snatched his first independent podium this season two months ago in Brazil, Darryl O’Young is determined to pick up where he left off in round 17 & 18 of the season. The 32-year-old has been on form lately after claiming third place in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race at Sepang in Malaysia a fortnight ago. It was Darryl’s fourth podium in the last five years in the event.

The Race of USA will be held on the 4.025 kilometers long Sonoma Runway in California. While the track also hosts NASCAR and IndyCar events, the track used by WTCC are approximately 800 meters and 300 meters longer than the other two events. WTCC drivers will compete in two races of 13 laps each this weekend.

Sponsors LKM and A-Ha Coffee are the major forces behind Darryl’s pursuit of success in the 2012 FIM World Touring Car Championship. Please visit www.fiawtcc.com for more WTCC information and www.darryloyoung.com for the latest updates about Darryl.

Alex MacDowallCarlisle racing driver Alex MacDowall cannot wait for the resumption of the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship next weekend, 22nd/23rd September, when the high-profile series makes a return to action with its first ever visit to Sonoma in the USA after a lengthy nine week summer sojourn.

The 21-year-old WTCC rookie, who drives a 1.6-litre turbo-powered Chevrolet Cruze for Yokohama Independents Trophy squad Bamboo Engineering, really started to get into his stride during the last few events before the mid-season hiatus.

His breakthrough moment came with a maiden class victory at the Salzburgring in Austria during round 11. From there, the Cumbrian scorched to further Independents Trophy podiums in Portimao, Portugal, and at Curitiba in Brazil last time out to make it five rostrum finishes for the year.

Alex will arrive in America fourth in the Independents Trophy standings, just a dozen points behind experienced WTCC driver Stefano D’Aste in third and 48 points shy of the top of the table. Although the gap to class leader Norbert Michelisz is significant, the Briton is confident he has the ability to become an increasingly important factor in the outcome of the 2012 championship.

“We’re only 12 points off third place in the Independents Trophy and I’m sure we can try and move into that top three next weekend”, commented Alex, “My goal is still to try and win the title, we’re a way off at the moment but there will be double points on offer at Macau [the final round of 2012] and anything can happen before then.”

“I’ve been working really hard on my fitness since the last round in Brazil and I’ve been learning as much as possible about Sonoma on the simulator. I’m not sure if many of the others will have ever been to the track so it should be a level playing field from that point of view. We will be carrying maximum ballast again on the Chevys though, which will mean extra wear on the tyres.”

The visit to the Sonoma raceway in California, formerly known as Sears Point in years gone by, will mean another mammoth journey across the Atlantic for Alex. In fact, the remainder of the WTCC season is very ‘travel-heavy’ with a visit to Suzuka in Japan in October followed by races in China and Macau in November.

“I’m feeling very confident for next weekend, it’ll be great to experience another new circuit and I really think the Chevrolet should be strong”, added Alex, “It’s a fantastic car, the class of the field, so I’m looking forward to my first visit to Sonoma.”

Alex’s first experience of the Californian track will come during a brief half-hour test session on Friday, 21st September, with two further free practice runs to follow on Saturday, 22nd September, ahead of qualifying at 14.15 local time (22.15 UK time).

Both races will take place on Sunday, 23rd September, with round 17 scheduled to get underway at 12.20 local time (20.20 UK time) and round 18 set to follow at approximately 13.35 local time (21.35 UK time). Live television coverage of both races will be carried on British Eurosport – check listings for further details.

2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd16):
1st Yvan Muller, 287pts; 13th Alex MacDowall, 36pts

2012 FIA WTCC ‘Yokohama Independents Trophy’ Driver Standings (after Rd16):
1st Norbert Michelisz, 111pts; 4th Alex MacDowall, 63pts

Photo by Romano Poli/www.photo-4.com

Darryl O'YoungAs if nothing can stop Darryl O’Young from scoring points at the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the moment, the SEAT Leon WTCC driver rebounded from the lowly overall P16 starting place in Slovakia and pocketed eight points with two top six finishes in the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy.

“Finishing 7th and 9th overall after starting from P16 was really the maximum result possible,” said Darryl after achieving pleasing results on his Slovakia debut.

After a disappointing qualifying session earlier in the weekend, a transformed O’Young turned aggressive from the start. In each of the two races, the team STR driver started strongly to overtake several cars in the opening lap. And by staying incident-free in both races, the Hong Kong ace outpaced no less than seven opponents in each round.

The Canadian born O’Young has now bagged 22 independent points thus far this season. He is only three behind the fifth-placed Italian driver Alberto Cerqui. The results also see the 32-year-old moved up three positions into 13th overall in the world championship standings.

Round 9 & 10 of the 2012 season will be held later this week in Hungary where Darryl scored one of his independent podiums last season.

Qualifying 1 at Slovakia Ring – Independent P8 & Overall P16

“Looking ahead we must work on getting stronger qualifying results.”

Race 1 at Slovakia Ring (2012 round 7) – Independent P6 & Overall P7

“It was important to come out of race 1 without incident so my car would be in good condition to fight again in race 2.”

Race 2 at Slovakia (2012 round 8) – Independent P6 & Overall P9

“I had the race pace to match the front of the field, but having to start from P16 just loses too much time and it is difficult to recover from that.”

Sponsors LKM and A-Ha Coffee are the major forces behind Darryl’s pursuit of success in the 2012 FIM World Touring Car Championship. Please visit www.fiawtcc.com for more WTCC information and www.darryloyoung.com for the latest updates about Darryl.

Alex MacDowall - Slovakia WTCCAlex MacDowall holds seventh place in the Yokohama Independents Trophy standings following the fourth event of the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship in Slovakia on Sunday, 29th April, despite an incredibly challenging weekend at the wheel of his turbo-powered Chevrolet Cruze.

On the back foot going into rounds seven and eight after battling horrendous understeer issues during practice and qualifying, the 21-year-old from Carlisle had an improved set-up for raceday but was prevented from making the most of it when shunted out of the second encounter.

Lining-up an uncharacteristic 16th on the grid, ninth in class, for race one as a result of the struggles, Alex headed into round seven with heightened confidence following a positive morning warm-up and made good progress in the particularly hot conditions at the Slovakia Ring.

With his Bamboo Engineering-run Cruze more forgiving on corner entry than at any other point during the weekend, he was able to battle competitively in the midfield and took an eventual top 12 finish overall, ninth in class. Just 0.9 seconds behind the BMW of Mehdi Bennani at the flag, he was also only a further half second adrift of the works Chevrolet of championship leader Yvan Muller.

Starting round eight from 15th on the grid, Alex was embroiled in a close fight with the BMWs once again but hopes of a top 10 challenge at least were halted on lap three when his Cruze was rammed on the run into turn eight. Resulting in a hefty impact and broken steering, the Cumbrian racer managed to limp back to the pits but his weekend was over.

“I went up the inside of a BMW at turn seven and we were side-by-side for the next corner but another BMW must have locked-up on the other side of me as the next thing I knew, I’d been hit and it bent the steering”, explained Alex, “It was far too optimistic, I’m not cross-eyed so I can’t see cars coming from two different directions at the same time!

“It’s disappointing as the car felt a lot better in the races then it did all weekend up to that point, we had new tyres as we didn’t get through to Q2 so that helped as well. The team found a better set-up though overnight after qualifying so, following the warm-up, I felt pretty confident.”

He added: “In the first race I decided to try and stay out of trouble as much as possible, a lot of cars went off, so I just wanted a sensible finish. In the second race I didn’t make the best of starts but I chipped away though and made up ground, to be taken out by a stupid move was very annoying.”

With no time to rest, the WTCC competitors now travel to the Hungaroring for the ninth and 10th rounds of the 2012 season next weekend, 5th/6th May. Although another track Alex has never raced at before, the fifth event of the championship in Hungary is probably the one he’s been looking forward to the most as he sees the venue as one more akin to the style of a British circuit.

“It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks but I’m really looking forward to next weekend, I think Hungary will suit is”, said Alex, “Most of the tracks on the WTCC calendar are wide with big corners, they don’t apex like those on a UK circuit and that’s what I’m having to get used to. Hungaroring is more like a UK track in that respect so I’m hoping we can challenge right near the front.”

Following two free practice sessions on Saturday, 5th May, qualifying at the Hungaroring will get underway at 13.00 (UK time). After the usual warm-up session on Sunday, 6th May, round nine will take place at 10.20 (UK time) with round 10 following at 13.35 (UK time) – all of the action is set to be screened on the Eurosport television network.

2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd8):
1st Yvan Muller, 148pts; 15th Alex MacDowall, 10pts

2012 FIA WTCC ‘Yokohama Independents Trophy’ Driver Standings (after Rd8):
1st Pepe Oriola, 62pts; 7th Alex MacDowall, 19pts

Photo by Romano Poli / www.photo-4.com

Alex MacDowallBamboo Engineering driver Alex MacDowall endured a pair of tough races during the third event of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Marrakech in Morocco today, Sunday, 15th April, with round five contact and a driveshaft failure in round six costing him the chance of two top finishes.

Showing strong pace throughout the weekend, confirmed when he posted the second fastest Yokohama Independents Trophy time in qualifying, the 21-year-old looked a safe bet for two class podiums at the very least in his Chevrolet Cruze – but raceday didn’t go according to plan.

An unfortunate lap one incident in round five, while running in the top six, resulted in Alex dropping down the field to 21st and last place. Even so, he mounted an excellent recovery to battle back into the top 12 and sixth in the Independents Trophy classification; importantly securing class points.

For round six the WTCC rookie lined-up on the class pole position and fifth overall but after a good getaway, retirement soon followed on lap one due to the driveshaft issue. Although wrecking Alex’s hopes of a potential first Yokohama Independents Trophy victory, he still managed to end the visit to North Africa holding on to fifth in the Independents championship and 11th in the overall title race.

“It’s not been a helpful couple of races for the championship, just one of those weekends really, but we know we’ve got the speed”, commented the Cumbrian racer, “Now it’s all about everything coming together for us, we had good pace this weekend but the races just didn’t work out. We just need to keep working hard, performing well in qualifying and then the rest will follow.”

The weekend started perfectly for Alex during testing on Friday, 13th April, as the quickest of the Independents runners with the fifth fastest time overall, 1m47.655 seconds (151.98 km/h). After two further free practice sessions on Saturday, 14th April, the all-important qualifying session followed where he was just pipped to the class pole position by little more than four hundredths of a second.

Progressing through the first part of qualifying with the 11th fastest time overall, fourth in class, Alex only had one set of tyres to use in the grid-determining second session so had to ensure he made full use of them. Driving impressively, he posted a time of 1m44.544 seconds (156.50 km/h) to place seventh overall and second quickest Independent.

“We had to use more tyres in the first part of qualifying just to get through as the works cars were much quicker”, explained Alex, “I could only afford one run in Q2 but I was happy with how it turned out, we were only just pipped to the Independents pole – it was really close.”

After a fault-free warm-up session on Sunday morning, round five started well for Alex and he made a good job of the rolling start to hold sixth position – inheriting the place after Gabriele Tarquini had been put back to 12th on the grid following a penalty.

Running tight in the slipstream behind Tom Coronel’s BMW up to the second chicane, as the Dutch driver hit the brakes earlier than Alex expected the inevitable contact resulted in a massive loss of time for the Briton. Recovering at the tail of the field, Alex mounted a stirring fight-back and battled all the way back to 12th overall and sixth in the Independents Trophy.

“I had a really good slipstream behind [Tom] Coronel, he was holding a very defensive line but he braked early and it caught me out”, reflected Alex, “I locked-up the fronts and had to run straight on, as it was so narrow there on that part of the track I had to reverse as well before rejoining so it lost me a lot of time. I did recover quite well though and was happy to get back in the points.”

All attention now turns to rounds seven and eight of the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship which will take place a fortnight from now, over the weekend 28th/29th April, at the Slovakia Ring in Slovakia – a brand new venue on the WTCC calendar.

2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6):
1st Yvan Muller, 130pts; 11th Alex MacDowall, 10pts

2012 FIA WTCC ‘Yokohama Independents Trophy’ Driver Standings (after Rd6):
1st Pepe Oriola, 51pts; 5th Alex MacDowall, 19pts

Photo by Romano Poli.

Isaac TutumluThe Spanish driver of Kurdish heritage was hit by another rival on lap 3 during first race colliding with the wall. His BMW 320 TC was badly damaged and he couldn´t take part in race two.

Isaac Tutumlu didn´t have luck on his side during today´s race of World Touring Car Championship in Marrakech. After his troublesome last two days, when the Proteam Racing´s BMW 320 TC was suffering from problems both turbo and suspension, Tutumlu was looking for improving his performance at this complicated urban track. But at the end he completed just two laps.

And it was because he was forced to retire on lap three of the first race scheduled today. The young Spanish driver of Kurdish background explained afterwards that “I made a good start, because I was able to avoid the crash on lap 1 where my teammate Medhi Bennani was involved. The safety car went out and when the race was resumed I was in the Pasquale di Sabatino´s slipstream, who was faster than me on straights. Then, approaching the chicane I was on the inside and Aleksei Dudukalo was close behind. I was accelerating when he hit my car and it was impossible not to crash with the wall”. The car was badly damaged but, fortunately, Tutumlu was unhurt despite a violent collision. However this incident meant a retirement in race one but also not to race the second.

Now Tutumlu was focused on his next commitment in the World Touring Car Championship scheduled on April 28 -29 at Slovakia Ring, a new venue for almost every driver on the starting grid. By then, “BMW has promised us that both Mehdi and I will be already using our new engines. Firstly, Proteam Racing has a lot of work to do on the car but I hope to have a better weekend. Morocco is now past and my aim is to fight for points in the Independents´ Trophy once again”, Tutumlu explained in the end.

Isaac TutumluThe Spanish driver of Kurdish background had a suspension failure in today´s qualifying session, while was improving his best lap, in addition to lack of top speed for his BMW 320 TC.

Isaac Tutumlu has had another troublesome day during today´s qualifying session for the third meeting of the World Touring Car Championship in Morocco. Following his Proteam Racing´s BMW issues with turbo, today Tutumlu had another troublesome day. In both free practice sessions his lap times were far away from front-runners in the Independents´ Trophy, when just two weeks ago Tutumlu was battling with them, because “Marrakech is quite demanding for the engines. It isn´t such a problem with top speed but speeding up after corners”, Tutumlu explained.

In qualifying his performance didn´t improve, “despite I was trying my best but it was quite hard to equal other cars´ performance. We are using a new turbo, after the old was broken on Friday, but it isn´t possible to set competitive lap times, in the same way as happened in race two at Monza. Last but not at least, I had a suspension failure too, exactly when I was improving my best lap until then. Definitively this weekend is being really hard for us and our 20 place on the starting grid isn´t a surprise”, Tutumlu said after a best personal lap of 1:47.294 in qualifying.

For tomorrow´s races, both 11 laps long, Tutumlu will try “to overtake as many cars as possible. Maybe in races I could use other cars´ slipstream and, avoiding any kind of troubles and incidents, score some points for the Independents´ Trophy. We have a good chassis to mitigate some deficiencies and complete two good races”.

Both races are going to start at 12.20 and 15.20 respectively.

Isaac TutumluThe Spanish driver of Kurdish background completed his first kilometres at Moulay El Hassan circuit and, despite his BMW 320 TC was suffering from minor turbo issues, was pleased with results and confident for tomorrow´s qualifying.

Isaac Tutumlu made his debut today at urban track of Moulay El Hassan, in Morocco, where is held next weekend 2012´s third meeting of the World Touring Car Championship. At a circuit really fast and complicated during a first outing, and with a Proteam Racing´s BMW 320 TC still using a less competitive engine, Tutumlu had a successful session on Friday because he set very good lap times since the beginning and was a top-ten driver during early stages.

Proteam Racing´s driver ran 12 laps setting a best time of 1:51.277 and explained afterwards that “it was a good day for us. I have put experience under my belt at a quite fast track and was surprised because Marrakech Street Circuit is quite difficult. The kerbs are very high and you need to learn how to approach them. Anyway I think our pace is good enough being my first day here and tomorrow there are other two free practice sessions in the morning. I think for qualifying session everything will be ready”. The young Spanish touring car driver added that “we had a minor problem with turbo at the end, and it caused to be overtaken by other rivals. Tomorrow it could have been worse. Anyway tomorrow it should be fixed and won´t be a problem anymore. I´m looking forward to set a good time in qualifying and, without problems, I think it is possible”.

Both practice sessions are on Saturday´s morning, at 11.30 (CET) and 15.15 (CET), while qualifying starts at 18.15 (CET).

Darryl O'YoungHong Kong race driver Darryl O’Young, embarks on the greatest journey of his career to date by entering two FIA World Championships in 2012, the FIA World Touring Car Championship and the FIA GT1 World Championship. This is a major milestone in his career and for Chinese motorsport as he will be one of the only drivers in the world to compete in two world championship categories in the same season. The FIA WTCC and the FIA GT1 World are the two most prestigious and competitive touring car and GT racing series’ in the world.

Having previously driven a Chevrolet Cruze for Bamboo Engineering for the past 2 seasons, O’Young makes a switch to a new SEAT Leon 1.6 Turbo for British Team, Special Tuning Racing. O’Young enters his 3rd season in the WTCC and is determined to take his experience from the previous 2 years to challenge for the independents world title and take his first overall victory in the series.

His entry to the FIA GT1 World will be his rookie season in this world championship. He is partnering experienced Dutchman, Peter Kox in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ on his maiden season with the German outfit, Reiter Engineering. The action packed one hour races feature pit stops and driver changes, which will count on a strong team effort to give the experienced duo race victories this year.

This extensive program will see the Hong Kong race driver compete in 18 different countries in 22 weekends, adding up to a grand total of 44 races this season. His global race schedule is highlighted with a stop in Shanghai and Macau in the WTCC and two stops in Mainland China in Beijing and Ordos for the FIA GT1 before closing the season out in India in December.

On WTCC: “My move to compete in the SEAT Leon 1.6 Turbo is something I see as a long term development. With support from SEAT Sport coming back to the WTCC this year, I feel there is a real chance to fight for race victories during the season. Although it is a new engine and a new team, we are all working hard to take big step forward as the season progresses. Special Tuning Racing is a team with many years experience working with SEATS, and my team mate Tom Boardman has also driven these cars a lot, so it is a great situation for me. I have to thank LKM, A-Ha Coffee, and SEAT for making this all possible.”

On GT1: “In the FIA GT1 World Championship, it is an exciting move for me this season. The Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ is a very competitive race car and together with an experienced team like Reiter Engineering, I feel we can really fight for race wins this season. My team mate, Peter Kox is very fast and he is a proven driver, so I can firstly learn alot from him, but also match up against him to push myself as a driver. Without all my sponsors, this isn’t possible so again, thank you to all that are involved in this project.”

On his 2012 race program: “I’m super excited about the 2012 season. I was already very happy to be back in the FIA WTCC this season, but to add the FIA GT1 World Championship to my racing calendar is simply amazing. This is something I never imagined possible and I feel blessed to have the chance to be one of the only drivers in the world to compete in two FIA World Championships. These opportunities don’t come along every day and I intend to capitalize on this unbelievable chance and help Hong Kong and China shine on the motorsport world stage.”