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Greig
3rd April 2010, 16:03
Saturday Practice
Fabrizio Giovanardi proved that a lack of winter activity has not slowed him down in the slightest as he set the fastest time in practice ahead of this weekend's British Touring Car Championship season-opener at Thruxton.

The Italian, who only signed his deal with the Triple 8 Vauxhall squad 48 hours ago, clocked the benchmark time of 1m17.981s in the afternoon practice session, to beat Matt Neal's Honda by 0.273s.

His session was ended early though, as he pitted with a gearbox problem with 10 minutes remaining.

"This car has basically been built in less than a week," he said. "So you have to expect these kinds of problems."

Neal had led from his team-mate Gordon Shedden in the morning session, but with that taking place on a damp track, every driver improved on their mark during the afternoon running.

Mat Jackson put in a superb lap mid-way through the session to put his Motorbase BMW third, while Andrew Jordan was fourth quickest - and the best placed of the turbocharged cars – in his Eurotech Vauxhall.

Tom Chilton's LPG-powered Arena Ford was fifth, while Jason Plato was the best of the Chevrolet drivers in seventh – and the last man within a second of Giovanardi's pace.

Paul O'Neill, who only completed a handful of laps during the opening session to scrub in some tyres, was eighth in his Tech-Speed Honda, one place ahead of Phil Glew's Triple 8 Vauxhall.

Steven Kane, who was 14th quickest, had a scary moment during the morning session as he spun his Motorbase BMW at high speed at Goodwood corner. He recovered without hitting anything.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall 1m17.981s
2. Matt Neal Honda 1m18.254s +0.273s
3. Mat Jackson BMW 1m18.325s +0.344s
4. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall 1m18.534s +0.553s
5. Tom Chilton Ford 1m18.542s +0.561s
6. Gordon Shedden Honda 1m18.585s +0.604s
7. Jason Plato Chevrolet 1m18.946s +0.965s
8. Paul O'Neill Honda 1m19.077s +1.096s
9. Phil Glew Vauxhall 1m19.259s +1.278s
10. David Pinkney Vauxhall 1m19.280s +1.299s
11. Rob Collard BMW 1m19.422s +1.441s
12. Tom Boardman SEAT 1m19.599s +1.618s
13. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford 1m19.696s +1.715s
14. Steven Kane BMW 1m19.699s +1.718s
15. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet 1m19.844s +1.863s
16. Matt Hamilton Honda 1m20.188s +2.207s
17. Martin Johnson Vauxhall 1m20.672s +2.691s
18. John George Honda 1m20.841s +2.860s
19. Shaun Hollamby Volkswagen 1m21.939s +3.958s
20. Andy Neate BMW 1m22.506s +4.107s

Rob
3rd April 2010, 16:09
03/Apr/2010 Fast start for Honda duo

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The 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship burst into life at a damp Thruxton on Easter Saturday as teams warmed up for the opening round of this year's eagerly-awaited series. Competitors are given two 40-minute Free Practice sessions in preparation for this afternoon's qualifying and tomorrow's three races.

Despite dry weather, the high-speed Hampshire circuit remained damp throughout this morning's first session with drivers struggling to find the optimum tyre combination. Though some opted for Dunlop's slick tyre, those on treaded wet tyres topped the time sheets.

First blood went to the two Honda Civics of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden - both men marking their return to the Honda Racing Team outfit in impressive fashion.

"It's early days," warned Neal. "I expected a dry line to start appearing but it remained slippery throughout and wet tyres was the best solution."

Former champion Fabrizio Giovardi was third in his Vauxhall Vectra with Jason Plato was fourth fastest in his new Chevrolet Cruze.

Despite the tricky conditions, the session passed with no major incidents.

Rob
3rd April 2010, 16:10
03/Apr/2010 Gio thrilled to be back :-D:clap

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Touring car legend Fabrizio Giovanardi feared he would be forced to miss this BTCC season following Vauxhall's decision not to field a factory team in 2010. However a last minute deal – only announced on the eve of the opening round – sees the 2007 and 2008 champion back behind the wheel of his familiar Vauxhall Vectra, this time as an independent entry.

"Obviously I'm very excited," grinned the Italian. "I had almost given up hope and had even taken up a day job with my father-in-law's flooring company... Then. ten days ago, I got a call from the team. I hadn't even renewed my racing licence, so it's all been a huge rush."

Despite missing all the pre-season testing, Fabrizio is confident that he can quickly make up for lost time. "It did feel at bit strange getting back into the car and I had a few doubts having not been in it since the final round last year at Brands Hatch but it's not really a problem as we know the Vectra so well."

Having set the third fastest time in this morning's opening practice session, Giovanardi showed no signs of rust.

"The team has made a big effort just to get us here but Thruxton is good place for us to start and I'm confident we can get some good results," he said.

Rob
3rd April 2010, 16:12
03/Apr/2010 Man in black

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Three days ago, he didn't have a race seat in this year's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship - today he topped the timesheets in final free practice in the build up to this afternoon's qualifying session and tomorrow's opening rounds of the 2010 BTCC. Welcome back Fabrizio Giovanardi.

After this morning's damp opening session, the BTCC teams enjoyed 40-minutes of dry track time in lunchtime's second free practice session. Having signed a last minute deal to join Uniq Racing with Triple Eight - the team that took him to back-to-back title in 2007 and 2008 - Giovanardi showed no signs of rustiness as he clocked the fastest time in his newly-liveried black Vauxhall Vectra. The Italian also showed good pace on a longer race run... which was ended prematurely by a puncture.

"The car is perfect," reported a grinning Fabrizio. "It's great to be reunited with my old friend. We have the pace for qualifying and for the race. I'm not worried about the puncture as we only had two laps to run. It's now up to me to deliver when it counts."

Having been fastest this morning in the wet, Matt Neal confirmed Honda's pace by running Giovanardi closest in the dry ahead of Mat Jackson in the leading BMW.

Andrew Jordan was an impressive fourth in his Vextra which is debuting the new NGTC engine - a low cost powerplant that is being introduced by the series organisers to reduce engine costs in the future.

Qulifying takes place at 3pm this afternoon

Rob
3rd April 2010, 16:13
Im looking forward to tomorrow. Especially now, with Gio back. With no Turks this year, and if Gio can get the full season drive, it will be between him and Plato.

Tifosi
3rd April 2010, 16:32
it's looking good. Nice and tight at the top! :-)

http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/2613/screenhunter03apr031530l.jpg

Greig
3rd April 2010, 16:36
Awesome front row :-D

Tifosi
3rd April 2010, 16:39
If history is anything to go by, Gordon will have a puncture on lap 3 ;-)

Greig
3rd April 2010, 16:42
and Plato or Neal will be in the gravel by lap 2 :-D or both :-)

Tifosi
3rd April 2010, 16:50
and Gio will win 2 out of 3 races :lol

God I love BTCC!

Rob
3rd April 2010, 21:11
03/Apr/2010 Shedden on pole
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“Flash’ Gordon Shedden has qualified on pole position on the grid for the first round of this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship to be staged at the super-fast Thruxton circuit on Easter Sunday.

The Scot, driving his Honda Racing Team Honda Civic, overcame tricky wet conditions to set a best lap time of 1m 24.061s to achieve pole position and with it score a bonus point that puts him into a very early championship lead.

“That’s the hardest point I’ve ever scored,” admitted Shedden who never experienced the flat-out sweeps of the notorious Hampshire circuit in wet conditions before this morning’s damp opening Free Practice session. “I managed to get a good clean lap and it’s great to be starting from front. Whatever the weather conditions tomorrow, there’s going to be lots of excitement, so to be starting with a clear track ahead is the best position to be in.”

Shedden will be joined on the front row by Fabrizio Giovanardi. The Italian touring car legend seemed destined to miss this year’s BTCC after Vauxhall withdrew its official factory team at the end of 2009. However the Triple Eight team, which fielded the works Vectras in recent seasons, put together a last-minute deal to keep the 2007 and 2008 champion in the series.

Despite missing all the pre-season testing, Giovanardi maximised his huge experience and was disappointed not to be fastest. “I don’t like to be second,” he said. “The car had the potential to be on pole but we had a small gearbox issue when the track was less wet and, by the time we had sorted that out, there were puddles on sections of the circuit.”

Adding to Honda’s delight, Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal qualified third to make it two Honda Civics in the top three. “It’s a brilliant start for the team to have both cars right up at the sharp end,” enthused the 2005 and 2006 champion. “It’s going to be pretty fraught tomorrow but the Civic feels good in the wet and the dry, so we’re ready and confident whatever the weather.”

Next up was an impressive Andrew Jordan whose Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra is debuting the new NGTC engine, a turbocharged power plant being introduced by the series organisers to reduce costs. Completing the top six was many people’s pre-season favourite Jason Plato in his new Silverline Chevrolet Cruze and Tom Chilton who is giving the LPG propelled Team Aon Ford Focus is first outing in this holiday weekend’s opening round of the UK’s premier motor racing championship.

BTCC Qualifying, Thruxton, leading positions:

1. Gordon Shedden (GBR), Honda Racing Team/Honda Civic, 1m 24.081s

2. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), Uniq Racing with Triple Eight/Vauxhall Vectra, +0.256s

3. Matt Neal (GBR), Honda Racing Team/Honda Civic, +0.553s
4. Andrew Jordan (GBR), Team Pirtek/Vauxhall Vectra, +0.772s

5. Jason Plato (GBR), Silverline Chevrolet/Chevrolet Cruze, +0.807s
6. Tom Chilton (GBR), Team Aon/Ford Focus, +0.956ss

7. Mat Jackson (GBR), Airwaves BMW/BMW 320is, +1.228s

8. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), Team Aon/Ford Focus, +1.443s


9. Phil Glew (GBR), Uniq Racing with Triple Eight/Vauxhall Vectra, +1.502s

10. Paul O'Neill (GBR), Sunshine.co.uk/Honda Integra, +1.771s

Rob
3rd April 2010, 21:13
and Gio will win 2 out of 3 races :lol

God I love BTCC!

lets hope so chap. Im hoping he will. That would be great return and great for him. Good base to get full race seat for season secure. Neal will punt Plato off for sure :lol

Tifosi
4th April 2010, 13:52
If history is anything to go by, Gordon will have a puncture on lap 3 ;-)

OK so I was 6 laps out........... ;-)

Greig
4th April 2010, 17:42
Race 2 - Giovanardi wins again at Thruxton
Fabrizio Giovanardi made it two out of two at Thruxton as he won the second round of the British Touring Car Championship with a lights-to-flag victory.

The Triple 8 Vauxhall driver made a superb getaway and built a 1.5-second lead within the first three laps, which he was able to maintain for the rest of the 16-lap race. His 24th BTCC victory allowed him to open up an early 11-point lead in the championship.

Behind him, there was a terrific scrap for second place involving Jason Plato's Chevrolet, Paul O'Neill's Tech-Speed Honda and Mat Jackson's Motorbase BMW, which had bogged down off the line but regained a number of spots at the Complex on lap one.

The trio were joined by Matt Neal's Honda during the latter stages of the race, the two-time champion passing Jackson under braking at the Complex on lap 11 and then edging inside O'Neill at the fast Goodwood corner the next time around.

Neal then latched onto Plato's tail and drew alongside his old rival as the pair approached the chicane for the penultimate time. With both trying to out-brake each other, they collided, Plato spinning and Neal cutting the chicane in avoidance.

While Neal, who started 12th, was able to keep enough momentum going to retain second place, O'Neill snuck into third spot while Plato dropped to fourth by the flag.

Jackson was next up while Plato's team-mate Alex MacDowall beat Phil Glew to sixth place - both drivers taking career-best results. Tom Boardman had led the pair during the early stages, but ran wide onto the grass exiting Goodwood and dropped to 15th.

Both Andrew Jordan's Eurotech Vauxhall and Martin Johnson's Boulevard Vauxhall suffered punctures during the race while Tom Chilton retired his Arena Ford in the pits after reporting a vibration at the front end of his car.

Eighth went to Steven Kane, the Motorbase driver coming up from 18th on the grid, while Rob Collard's WSR BMW and David Pinkney's Pinkney Vauxhall completed the top-10.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall 21m32.829s
2. Matt Neal Honda +2.429
3. Paul O'Neill Honda +4.008
4. Jason Plato Chevrolet +5.046
5. Mat Jackson BMW +6.144
6. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet +6.844
7. Philip Glew Vauxhall +7.128
8. Steven Kane BMW +13.309
9. Rob Collard BMW +14.902
10. David Pinkney Vauxhall +16.857
11. Gordon Shedden Honda +17.096
12. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford +28.390
13. Matt Hamilton Honda +39.089
14. Andy Neate BMW +40.476
15. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall +50.065
16. Tom Boardman SEAT +54.477
17. John George Honda +54.874
18. Shaun Hollamby Volkswagen +55.749
19. Martin Johnson Vauxhall +1 lap

Not classified

Tom Chilton Ford 8 laps

Greig
4th April 2010, 19:34
Race 3 - Kane takes maiden win
Steven Kane claimed his maiden British Touring Car Championship victory in the third race of the day at Thruxton, leading home his team-mate Mat Jackson in a one-two finish for the Motorbase BMW squad.

Kane, who spent last year as the test driver for the Formula 2 championship, resisted extreme pressure from his team-mate to beat him to the chequered flag by a second after 18 hard-fought laps.

Rob Collard started the reversed grid race from pole in his WSR BMW and led Kane during the early stages, although Matt Neal's Honda soon closed in on the pair.

The key moment of the race came on lap seven. Neal, lying third, drove around the outside of Kane at the chicane, but within the same move also made contact with Collard, the second impact spinning the latter into the tyre wall opposite the pit entrance.

While Collard was out on the spot and the damage to Neal's car also forced his retirement, Kane slipped through to grab the lead, hotly pursued by Jackson.

Following a late-race safety car period, the pair disputed the lead, with Jackson's only opportunity to pass being thwarted when the pair came across waved yellow flags at Allard with two laps to go.

Behind them, Jason Plato finished third for Chevrolet, Gordon Shedden fourth for Honda and Fabrizio Giovanardi fifth for Triple 8 Vauxhall. Those results mean that Giovanardi left Thruxton with a nine-point lead over Plato in the championship.

Phil Glew had been due a top six result before his Triple 8 Vauxhall gave out a puff of smoke and then slowed to a halt with a lap and a half to go.

That allowed Paul O'Neill to gain a place and finish sixth in his Tech-Speed Honda while seventh and eighth places for Arena Ford team-mates Tom Onslow-Cole and Tom Chilton represented the first BTCC points for cars powered by LPG engines.

Rob
5th April 2010, 13:47
GIO GIO GIO!!! great racing yesterday, missed first two races, but watch today and post later what i thought.

Tifosi
5th April 2010, 15:20
I told you Matt Neal was a git didn't I Rob? ;-)

Rob
6th April 2010, 16:54
Yeah you did Stu :thumb That was a silly move. Upto that point was good clean racing.