Fabrizio Giovanardi admitted he was pleased to take pole position for the second rounds of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton, although the Italian was quick to point out that race day is what will really matter as he looks to get his title bid back on track.

The Italian endured a tough start to the year at Brands Hatch, with the plus point from that weekend being that his VX Racing Vectra headed to the quickest circuit on the calendar without any success ballast on board.

Giovanardi duly posted the quickest time during the opening practice session but then saw his programme hit by an accident involving Stephen Jelley during the second session before he'd even posted a lap time.

"I've no idea what happened; I was warming my tyres," he said. "I saw a car behind me so I left room for him to pass me. Then a little later I was just smashed into from the side, but on my right side, which was very unexpected.

"I can only think that he made a mistake, ended up on the grass then spun in front of me. I was looking to the left, but the car came into me from the right!"

With his car repaired, Giovanardi headed out in qualifying and went quickest on his first flying lap - which turned out to be all he needed to secure only his second BTCC pole.

"I'll be happy when we finish first in the race, finishing first in qualifying doesn't mean anything yet," he said. "The car was really good. Even though we had the crash in second practice, I knew we were in good shape as the car had felt so good earlier on this morning.

"I couldn't have been second with no ballast on the car when my team-mate [Matt Neal] is close behind me with full ballast on."

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