HUGE ACCIDENT BRINGS EARLY CONCLUSION TO RED BULL RING WEEKEND FOR MACDOWALL
Cumbrian racing driver Alex MacDowall was fortunate to escape injury during the opening race of the third weekend of the ADAC GT Masters season at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Saturday, 10th June, when contact from a rival car resulted in a huge accident for the Briton.
Running in a close battle just outside the top 10 into the final quarter of an hour of round five, as the bigFM Racing Team Schutz Motorsport driver exited the final corner at the end of lap 29 the rear of his Porsche 911 was tagged by a rival Audi which propelled MacDowall into the pit-wall barriers.
Resulting in a monstrous impact nose-first, the energy from the incident pitched the Carlisle racer back into the middle of the circuit where he came to rest in a dangerous position. Resulting in a red flag stoppage to the race, MacDowall was able to emerge from the wrecked car in one piece and after a visit to hospital he was given an all-clear but not permitted to race on day two.
Even if he had been allowed to compete, the Porsche he shares with Austrian team-mate Klaus Bachler was too severely damaged to repair for round six on Sunday – a nightmare scenario for the duo’s championship.
“I’ve watched the incident again and again and you can just see the Audi turns into me and spins me around”, said MacDowall, the 2016 European Le Mans Series LM GTE Champion, “Initially I wasn’t sure, but you can definitely see what happened and it was a big impact. The damage to the car is bad, I think we’ll need to have a new chassis for Zandvoort.”
MacDowall piloted the No.36 Porsche during qualifying for the opening race and despite lapping just 0.7 seconds shy of the top three, experiencing issues with balance and understeer, he ended the incredibly competitive session with the 17th fastest time of 1m28.872 seconds.
Bachler began race one on Saturday afternoon and made a great start, climbing into the top 12 by lap two and then reeling in the pack ahead before going on to move into 11th place. With around 40 minutes to run the Safety Car was deployed and at the resumption a few minutes later, Bachler ran tight behind the No.1 Audi.
Remaining on track as the driver change pit-stops began, the Austrian Moved up into eighth before pitting at the end of lap 19. MacDowall then entered the race with 28 minutes left, in 16th position, and when the race order settled he held 14th spot. Although edged back to 15th place by another of the Audis, as a result of penalties for a couple of rivals he was soon able to climb into 13th position.
Edged back by a Lamborghini to 14th again with under 20 minutes to run, with the field very closely packed, MacDowall picked up his pace but, around five minutes later, he was speared into the pit-wall barriers after being turned around out of the last corner.
“We shouldn’t have been in the position we were really, we struggled with the balance of the car all weekend with lots of understeer”, reflected MacDowall, “Klaus made good progress at the start of the race and did a great job but after the pit-stop the field was all really close as we’d had the Safety Car just before. It’s unfortunate what happened, we just need to look ahead to the next round.”
Hoping for much better fortune next time out, the fourth event of the ADAC GT Masters season will take place over the weekend 22nd/23rd July at Zandvoort in The Netherlands.
2017 ADAC GT Masters Championship Standings (after Rd6)
16th Alex MacDowall & Klaus Bachler, 18pts