Fabrizio Giovanardi has closed to within nine points of leader Colin Turkington following the seventh round of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Knockhill, although the Italian concedes he faces a tough battle to overhaul his rival in the fight for the title.
Gioavanardi went into the Scottish race weekend trailing Turkington by 17 points, but his hopes of bringing that gap down were hit by a below-par showing in qualifying, where he could only manage the eleventh quickest time. Turkington meanwhile took a slot on the second row of the grid.
Come race day however, Giovanardi was up to speed and battled his way through to fifth place in race one, right behind Turkington on the road. However, a late move from Johnny Adam demoted Giovanardi to sixth on the run to the line and saw the Italian lose ground to Turkington in the title battle.
At the start of race two however, Giovanardi was able to get ahead of Turkington on the opening lap to climb to fourth and then battled ahead of Adam and Mat Jackson to go second. When Gordon Shedden then locked up at the hairpin under pressure from the Italian, Giovanardi was through into the lead and took victory, with Turkington in third.
The final race saw Giovanardi and Turkington battling on track for fourth place through the closing stages of the race, but team orders from the VX Racing squad on the final lap allowed Giovanardi to take third from team-mate Matt Neal – bringing the gap to the points leader down to less than ten points.
"I think now it is between us two,” Giovanardi admitted. “Jason [Plato] I saw parked at the side of the road in race two and Matt crashed out of race one whereas Colin and I managed to get strong results in all three races. Colin, you know... he is putting up a very good fight, very mature for his age, and he is going to be very hard to beat.
“I think we are quite even in performance on the track and today he raced very hard but fair with me. The last three rounds are going to be very exciting but it's what I'm sure we both want and it's the same for the crowds and TV!"