Vauxhall is celebrating its 17th and 18th Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship titles after securing the 2007 driver and manufacturer honours at Thruxton today.
In a nail-biting finale to the season Fabrizio Giovanardi clawed back a nine-point deficit to former championship leader Jason Plato after some exceptional driving in the Vauxhall Vectra.
With eight touring car titles to his name, Giovanardi is now firmly recognised as one of the greatest touring car drivers of all time, and Vauxhall is delighted the Italian will be coming back in 2008 to defend his title.
After two 1-2 finishes for Giovanardi and Plato early in the day, 2007’s BTCC racing culminated in a dramatic final round as the two title protagonists started side-by-side on the grid with just one point separating them in the title table.
Giovanardi launched off the line and into third by the first corner as Plato found himself locked in a gruelling battle with VX Racing’s Tom Chilton.
The 22-year-old put the team in a firm position by making a great pass but the Vauxhall Vectra remained under intense pressure, with Plato getting alongside at one point, raising a gasp around the packed Hampshire circuit.
Chilton did a sterling job, however, earning himself a hard-won podium as the team celebrated its double glory in front of thousands of fans.
Fabrizio Giovanardi #5
“Thank you to everybody in my team, my car, my team-mate, the people coming to watch. It was an amazing championship.
“I would also like to thank Plato; I am very glad to have at my side Jason who has been a great challenger.
“Roberto Ravaglia has seven titles so I think now I have more than any other driver! It’s very special because it was very big effort to win this one. Working hard for something makes it more special.
“For me it was very stressful before the start and then again in the end. I thought I was in trouble with my tyres so when I saw Jason try to make everything to try and catch me it was very stressful. One lap more might have been a different result.
“Tom made a very defensive manoeuvre in the end. Plato was very hard with him and he has been a very good team-mate.”
Tom Chilton #7
“It’s mega; couldn’t have been any better! It’s been a perfect weekend for me except for the puncture in race one. I’ve had pole position, registered fastest lap and ended on the podium.
“I’ve helped my team-mate out on several occasions and I’m really pleased for him and for Vauxhall. They deserved it and it feels fantastic to be part of that.”
Alain Menu #88
“I found out in race three that it’s a bit more rough than it was when I was here last but it doesn’t matter. I had a good time and Vauxhall got pretty much everything they wanted.”