Thruxton race 1: Giovanardi wins
Vauxhall driver Fabrizio Giovanardi has won the first of today’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rounds at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.
Giovanardi led all the way from pole position in his Vectra to achieve his third win in four races and close the gap to championship leader Jason Plato who finished second.
However, Giovanardi was lucky to finish the race and as soon as he crossed the line pulled off the circuit. The Italian ace explained: "The water temperature was very high for the last five laps and I had to be very careful. I stopped to try to save the engine but I think it will need to be changed for race two."
On a circuit notoriously tough on tyres, former champion Plato used all his experience to come through from seventh position on the grid and then pass two drivers on the final lap to grab the runners-up spot. Heading into this afternoon's second round, Plato leads Giovanardi by the diminished margin of 13 points.
Third was Plato’s team-mate Darren Turner. Both he and Plato profited on the final lap when the Eurotech Honda Integra of Mike Jordan suffered a punctured tyre while lying second and dropped to tenth.
Colin Turkington, having moved into second at the first bend in his Team RAC BMW 320si was fourth and fifth, closing in during the closing laps, was reigning champion Matt Neal in his Team Halfords Honda Civic. Sixth, having set the race's fastest lap before suffering tyre problems, was Vauxhall's Tom Chilton.
Notably, Mat Jackson's Jacksons MSport BMW 320si E90 and Neal's team-mate Gordon Shedden's Honda were first lap retirements with heavy damage after they collided though the Complex section of the circuit.
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi - Vauxhall Vectra
2. Jason Plato - Seat Leon (+4.358s)
3. Darren Turner - Seat Leon (+4.972s)
4. Colin Turkington - BMW 320si (+5.219s)
5. Matt Neal - Honda Civic (+6.426s)
6. Tom Chilton - Vauxhall Vectra (+13.105s)
7. Matt Allison - Seat Toledo Cupra (+19.455s)
8. Tom Onslow-Cole - BMW 320si (+23.554s)
9. Eoin Murray - Alfa Romeo 156 (+26.844s)
10. Mike Jordan - Honda Integra (+27.129s)
11. Gareth Howell - Seat Toledo Cupra (+27.309s)
12. Jason Hughes - MG ZS (+32.020s)
13. Martyn Bell - BMW 320i E46 (+49.369s)
14. Fiona Leggate - MG ZS (+47.712s)
15. David Pinkney - Alfa Romeo 156 (+52.053s)
16. Richard Marsh - Alfa Romeo 156 (+59.343s)
17. Erkut Kizilirmak - Vauxhall Astra Sports hatch (1:09.521s)
18. Simon Blanckley - Honda Integra (+1 Lap)
DNF Mat Jackson - BMW 320si
DNF Rick Kerry - BMW 120D
DNF John George - Honda Integra
DNF Chris Stockton - Lexus IS200
DNF Gordon Shedden - Honda Civic
DNF Nick Leason - Lexus IS200