One point separates Vauxhall’s Fabrizio Giovanardi from SEAT’s Jason Plato in the fight for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship lead as they enter the final round at Thruxton this afternoon.
Giovanardi won his second race of the day, with Vauxhall fans enduring a nerve-racking 16 laps as Plato hounded for the lead.
At one point the two title protagonists were rallying across the grass at the Complex after Plato harpooned the Vauxhall Vectra in his bid to over-take Giovanardi for the first time all season.
The move did not benefit Plato however as Giovanardi’s formidable car control yet again saw the Italian master defy physics by keeping his car in front.
Team-mate Tom Chilton had a mammoth task after today’s first race saw the 22-year-old retire with a puncture. That meant he started from the back of the grid but he drove a solid race to finish ninth; most importantly passing Vauxhall’s manufacturer rivals, SEAT, in the process.
The team’s guest driver this weekend, Alain Menu, finished the race in sixth.
The final race of the 2007 season will start at 16:20 at Thruxton.
Fabrizio Giovanardi #5: “It’s coming close and hard. We are only one point behind him now and it’s all down to the last race.”
Tom Chilton #7: “I had a really good fight with Darren Turner in the last laps and this was basically the case all race; I was always on the inside or outside of one of the cars.
“It was really enjoyable, it was just a shame that my set-up was a little bit conservative after my tyre blew in the first race.”
Alain Menu #88: “I let Turkington and Jackson by on the last lap because it will be better for us now with the reverse grid. I’ll start second for the last race and will be in a great place to help Fabrizio.”
BTCC Provisional Round 29 Race Result
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Vectra)
2. Jason Plato (SEAT Leon)
3. Matt Neal (Honda Civic)
4. Colin Turkington (BMW 320si)
5. Mat Jackson (BMW 320si)
6. Alain Menu (Vauxhall Vectra)
7. Tom Coronel (SEAT Leon)
8. Mike Jordan (Honda Integra)
9. Tom Chilton (Vauxhall Vectra)