Despite being unable to add to his victory tally at Oulton Park, a brace of podium finishes has allowed Fabrizio Giovanardi to extend his lead in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The defending champion took to the podium in the first and second races of the weekend in Cheshire while sixth in race three was enough to give the Italian a 44 point lead in the standings - the equivalent of almost three race victories over his nearest rival Jason Plato.

Despite carrying maximum ballast onboard his Vectra VXR Giovanardi qualified in a solid fifth place on the grid but he managed to bring home a solid third place in the opening race after battling ahead of team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole on the opening lap and then taking advantage of Darren Turner running wide following contact with Tom Chilton.

Although unable to challenge Colin Turkington in the second race, Giovanardi followed the Team RAC man home to secure the runners-up slot and then managed to just avoid the carnage at the start of race three to bring his car home in sixth - maintaining his run of points scoring finishes and extending his lead.

"The car felt good this weekend, and I think it ran well considering my ballast," he said. "When your car is laden down there isn't a lot you can do, but I pushed for all I could get and overall I am pleased that I finished the day with two podiums. I have extended my points lead in the driver's championship nicely, and consistency is what counts."

Although Matt Neal endured a tough weekend, Tom Onslow-Cole was at least able to secure a place on the podium although the youngster admitted the weekend could still have gone better after he missed out on the top ten in race three.

"It was a pretty average weekend for me really," he said. "Although qualifying was good, and race one and two went well, I was disappointed with my performance in the final race. Sometimes though, you just have to try to stay calm and focused when something happens to you which isn't your fault. I'd have hoped to leave the weekend with a little more consistency, but then again, I am pleased that I finished with a podium alongside Giovanardi!"


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