Reigning BTCC Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi wins the season opener at Brands Hatch
The 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) kicked off today with race one at Brands Hatch, Kent, with the reigning BTCC Drivers' and Manufacturers' Champion VX Racing taking race victory with Fabrizio Giovanardi.
The Italian fought back from a slow start to take a strong victory in changeable conditions in his Vectra VXR, scoring maximum points on his way to begin the defence of his 2007 drivers' championship title.
Team-mates Matt Neal and Tom Onslow-Cole had an action-packed race, fighting for positions as the rain fell throughout with VX Racing's title rivals. Neal finished the race in fifth place, with Onslow-Cole coming home in seventh position.
The second race of the day will start at 14:20 today at the Kent circuit.
Fabrizio Giovanardi #1
"What a great way to start the season with a win. I had a very good battle with Mat Jackson in the BMW, he had a better start than me but I managed to catch up with him.
"When I was close to him he made a mistake coming into Clearways and I passed him on the inside. I really look forward to the second race now."
Matt Neal #4
"I was punted off into the grass at the start and I damaged the front splitter on my Vectra VXR. Despite that the car was absolutely fabulous. When it started to rain it was great to drive and I felt much more confident compared to our opponents.
"I actually wanted it to rain a bit more and maybe with five more laps to go we could have climbed a few more places. I'm very happy with fifth, it gives us a great platform for the second race."
Tom Onslow-Cole #10
"It's good to take points in my debut for VX Racing but I had a lot of problems with back markers throughout the race. I usually enjoy driving in these conditions, but today couldn't really make the most of them. Despite the car feeling good it dropped away slightly towards the end of the race, but it was fairly consistent throughout."