Fabrizio Giovanardi insists he isn't worried about an uncharacteristically off-colour start to the defence of his HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch.

The double champion had looked well placed for a solid race day after qualifying second on the grid at the wheel of his VX Racing Vectra and rebounded from a poor start to the opening race of the weekend to finish on the podium in second place behind team-mate Matt Neal.

However, things started to go wrong for the Italian in race two when another slow start dropped him down the order, and he then made contact with Stephen Jelley at Clearways while trying to fight his way back to the front.

Whether a result of that contact or not, Giovanardi suffered a front left puncture later in the race which forced him to pit, and left him outside the points in 16th place.

Down the order as a result for race three, the Italian then found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when Jelley and Rob Collard tangled on the run to Graham Hill Bend early on, and was hit by Jelley's BMW, which damaged the rear of the Vauxhall and left Giovanardi to return to the pits and retire.

It leaves him seventh in the standings with twelve points, as opposed to the 38 of early points leader Neal.

"The weekend started well but sometimes it happens," Giovanardi reflected. "I was involved in an accident that wasn't my fault at all; I tried to continue but the car wasn't right.

"We have a few points, it's only the first weekend and there's a long way to go, so I'm not worried."