“I think there was more attention on me [in Italy] because I was the Italian outsider fighting for a British championship. I received more attention in the newspapers and on the TV. It's good, because it shows they are also interested in a different type of sport, rather than just Formula 1 or football!”
After insisting he could tell the Vectra was a championship-winner in-waiting the first time he tried it out back at the beginning of the year, 'Gio' has now turned his attentions firmly towards 2008, when he will carry the coveted #1 plate on his car and will be partnered by new team-mate – and fellow multiple title-winner – Matt Neal. He acknowledged, however, that bettering his 2007 tally of ten victories would take some doing.
“We won a lot,” he agreed, “but because I was close to winning more than ten during the season I can expect to be perfect next year! No, I'm joking. I will just try to do my best and we will see how many races we can win.
“We are still discovering [next year's] car. We have to give good feedback and make the engineers understand where they have to go in terms of design. It's very important to understand where you have to develop the car during the winter because you can hardly test once the season begins. The engineers need to design all the different parts, so that in January and February we can see if they work or not.
“I don't expect a big jump, because from the beginning the Vectra was quite close to being perfect. What we have to do is fully understand all the potential of the car and its different set-ups at different circuits.
“I think Matt is a good choice. He's 40, a good, experienced guy with many years of racing behind him and he's a winner. He knows when it's time to push and when it's time to wait, and at the end of the day it's not important to win races; it's important to win the championship.”