Reigning HiQ MSA British Touring Car champion Fabrizio Giovanardi
will be out to close the 11-point deficit to title rival Colin Turkington
this weekend at Rockingham, the penultimate round in the series.
Giovanardi, who has won the BTCC drivers' title for the last two years in a row, only managed a lone podium at Silverstone two weeks ago. However the Italian is still optimistic about his championship hopes, even if Team RAC BMW man Turkington could conceivably wrap things up on Sunday if he can stretch the gap to 53 points.
"It's getting very close to the end of the season now," said Giovanardi, "but we still have six races left, so nothing is for certain. But, I'm only here to win, so that's what I have to do.
"Rockingham is always fast, produces good races and I just need it all to go my way, not like at Silverstone."
VX Racing team-mates Matt Neal
and Andrew Jordan
meanwhile will also both be hunting for victories and points, although they have vowed to play a supporting role to the Italian, if it is needed.
Neal, who will make his 400th BTCC race start this weekend, will be looking to turnaround his fortunes in the last two race weekends of the season.
"I have to be realistic and I'm fairly open minded about the rest of the season," stated Neal. "I'm looking for the best results for myself and the team, and helping Fabrizio along the way, as well as enjoying the rest of the season with Vauxhall.
"Rockingham is a good, technical, circuit and is the place where I took my first win with the Vectra, so will hold a special place because of that. I reckon we should be pretty strong at this track, but you never know until you get there. Notching up 400 races I guess is quite an achievement and certainly shows I have a catalogue of experience, but it makes me feel pretty old!"
Jordan is also looking forward to racing at Rockingham: "We'll need to find more straight line speed for Rockingham as it has the long, flat out section on the banking. I think the track should suit the front wheel drive cars and with it having quite a few overtaking opportunities, as well as the tight, twisty mid-section, there's sure to be plenty of excitement in the races," added the 20-year-old.
"I just need to be in the middle of it all and have some better races than we had at Silverstone."