Cotswold racer Alice Powell forced to settle for fifth place in Indian series

First published in Sport

COTSWOLD racer Alice Powell suffered huge disappointment at the Madras Circuit in Chennai, India, over the weekend.

Clutch problems and a spin when in the lead caused her to drop to fifth from third in the final MRF Championship standings. Alice qualified in fifth for the first race of the weekend, but on the start of the warm-up lap, the clutch started to slip.

"I could feel it slip when I pulled away on the green flag lap," she said. "When I pulled up to my grid box for the start of the race, the clutch was not engaging properly. When the lights came on, I went full revs and the car edged forward. I did manage to stop before the lights went out, but it was too late, I had already moved."

This was seen as a jump start by the stewards so Alice had to take a drive-through penalty. She came out in last place (15th), but managed to work her way back up to 12th.

For the first race on Sunday, Alice started in sixth place, and she chose to stay in that position as it meant she would start in pole position for the final race – with the top six starting in reverse on the last race grid.

Former Cotswold School student Alice got an excellent start from pole, leading into the first few corners.

However, on the run down to turn four, Alice was forced to defend on the dusty side of the track. As the BRDC Rising Star changed down, the rear tyres locked aggressively, sending Alice into a spin and she had to wait until all the cars had passed to get back on to the track.

Powell worked her way back to P10, setting the third fastest lap of the race.

"I am so disappointed," she said. "My start was excellent, but Sam (Dejonghe) got a tow down the straight to turn four. I pulled to the left to defend, but the track was very dusty and the change down snatched the rear.

"We had such great pace and I know it would have been a win which would have meant third in the Championship."

Alice has no confirmed drive yet for 2013, as she is still continuing to raise sponsorship.

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