Fabrizio Giovanardi admitted he was delighted to return to winning ways in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft, after the defending champion secured his second victory of the 2009 campaign.

The Italian has endured a mixed season to date, and headed to the North East with just a single win to his name at the wheel of his VX Racing Vectra during the second round of the year at Thruxton.

In warm conditions, Giovanardi struggled for pace in qualifying and could only manage 13th on the grid for race one, but he stormed through the field in the opening race to take fifth place - despite contact at the start with James Thompson's Honda which damaged the steering on his car.

"The car was much better, but I had contact with James Thompson at the start, which knocked my steering out of alignment, so I had to cope with that throughout the race," he said. "I struggled with tyre wear as well and by the end of the race there was nothing left of them. I reckon I could have been on the podium if I hadn't had contact, but it was a good start to my day."

The Italian then repeated the feat in the second race of the day, but it was race three where he really shone in wet conditions.

Having jumped to third at the start, Giovanardi then got ahead of Thompson after a restart and when Paul O'Neill, the defending champion hit the front. However, he then ran wide at Tower to allow Thompson through before another Safety Car period.

On the final restart, Giovanardi made light work of making a move for the lead as he went round the outside of Thompson at Sunny and then pulled away for a victory that leaves him firmly in the mix heading to the summer break.

"I have had to wait a while to win again, but my car was very quick in this race," he said. "We had a dry set up, but once I knew I had grip I knew the car would be okay and I could push hard. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't get back ahead of James with the second safety car and knew I only needed one lap to do it, so I was relieved when we started racing again."

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