BTCC »'s Brands Hatch blog: Sunday.

Sunday eve – Gio leads the way

And so the opening weekend draws to a close, with a familiar look at the top of the standings. Giovanardi leads the way from Jackson while Plato isn't that far behind considering SEAT has plenty still to do with the diesel.

Its not surprise to see Vauxhall leading the manufacturers standings and the teams' title race, but the BMW Dealer Team is showing strong – despite the disadvantage of only having one car compared to two for the other leading teams.

Jackson leads the Indy standings with his team proudly top of the pile – and the full standings can be found if you simply CLICK HERE.

Sunday eve – Sandbagging? What sandbagging?

SEAT proved to be on the pace from the outset as the Leon TDi hit the BTCC track for the first time, leading to the expected comments about the team having 'sand-bagged' during pre-season testing.

However, while it may have happened before, the team insisted it wasn't the case this time around.

"Prior to this weekend we'd done 120 mile and we read all the crap in the press about SEAT sandbagging – and we weren't," Jason Plato said at the end of the day. "It's frustrating to hear that as the guys are working hard here and we've made progress this weekend. We just haven't found the sweet spot in the car yet

"We'll be more competitive as the season goes on, so if we can get two thirds and a fifth here, what can we get later in the year? We need to unlock that secret gem in the car. We don't know where it is but we are getting closer – we just haven't found it."

Sunday eve – Tom debuts with a bang

Tom Onslow-Cole walked away unscathed from his big shunt in the final race of the weekend, although the same couldn't be said for his car as the team continued to collect broken bits of Vectra from the side of the Cooper Straight.

For Tom, it was a simple case of wrong place, wrong time when Gordon Shedden was turned into the side of him and it was a tough end to a debut race day with the Vauxhall team that had been going well.

"I haven't seen it played back yet but all I know is that I came out of Graham Hill Bend on the racing line with Shedden on my inside, and the next thing I knew I was aiming at the wall," he said. "There isn't much run off so there wasn't time to do anything. I just kept my foot buried and put some lock on but it wasn't enough.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA) - VX Racing Vauxhall Vectra wins race 1
Mat Jackson, James Cole - Motorbase Performance
The fastest times at the end of the test day
Jeff Smith (GBR) Eurotech Racing Honda Civic
Jeff Smith (GBR) Eurotech Racing Honda Civic
Jeff Smith (GBR) Eurotech Racing Honda Civic
Andy Priaulx (GBR) WSR BMW
Andy Priaulx (GBR) WSR BMW
Andy Priaulx (GBR) WSR BMW
Alex Martin (GBR) Dextra Racing Ford Focus ST
Stewart Lines (GBR) Maximum Motorsport Toyota Avensis
Andrew Jordan (GBR) Pirtek MG6 GT
Andrew Jordan (GBR) Pirtek MG6 GT
Mat Jackson (GBR) Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST
Mat Jackson (GBR) Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST
Mat Jackson (GBR) Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST
Tom Ingram (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis
Rob Holland (GBR) Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis

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