Fabrizio Giovanardi completed his second victory of the day at a damp Brands Hatch, the Italian cruising to a lights-to-flag victory as carnage yet again broke out behind him in the 23rd round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The VX Racing driver crossed the line ahead of key championship rival Jason Plato, who embarked on a thrilling back-to-front drive after an early spin, and Gordon Shedden. Just twelve cars would be classified, only eight of those finishing on the same lap.

With three cars having already been withdrawn from the meeting - Matt Neal, Tom Ferrier and David Pinkney - courtesy of the huge crash on the opening lap in first race and another three unable to start - Rick Kerry, Fiona Leggate and Eoin Murray -, a heavily depleted field lined up for the second race, run in damp but drying conditions.

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Not that it prevented the drivers from taking it easy at the start in the patchy conditions when Tom Onslow-Cole got a typically demon start in his Team RAC 320si, the Snetterton winner managing to slot his car between his team-mate Colin Turkington and Darren Turner's SEAT - a space that wasn't quite BMW-shaped.

Somewhat inevitably, Onslow-Cole's nose tipped Turkington and Turner into one another, the trio come to rest at the exit of the pit-lane, with Onslow-Cole and Turner out on the spot, while Turkington recovered to the pits to fall an eventual lap down. Martyn Bell would also become a victim of the melee, being tagged by the SEAT of Matt Allison, the Motorbase driver taking avoiding action and managing to clip the BMW.

The lap one action wasn't over though when Tom Chilton attempted to go around the outside of Plato at Surtees, the ensuing contact causing both to spin off, Plato recovering at the back of the field but Chilton getting caught on the sodden grass and sliding helplessly into the barriers. Heavily damaging the front of his Vectra, Chilton was forced to retire.

With four leading drivers out and another two of them heavily delayed, a surprise order emerged out of the spray, pole sitter Giovanardi coming up to the safety car in the lead but ahead of Chris Stockton, Gavin Smith, Adam Jones, Erkut Kizilirmak, Allison, Richard Marsh, Gordon Shedden and Mat Jackson in his hastily repaired MSport BMW.

Smith's third place would be misleading though, the returning Irishman having jumped the start, a drive-through penalty duly coming his way. Worse was to come though when he got the hammer down too early at the restart and was already past Stockton before they crossed the start-finish line as the race resumed. The GR Asia driver would be forced to serve a second penalty.

It took just one more corner for the race to be pitched under safety car conditions again though when Allison got out of shape coming out of Paddock Hill Bend, the SEAT slamming hard into the barrier on the inside of the circuit, the impact heavily damaging the rear of his Toledo and potentially forcing the second Motorbase car out of the final race.

Jones was already up to second though, just nipping past Stockton as they came across the finish line, to pull up behind Giovanardi. It proved to be a crucial move as Stockton proved a worthy mobile chicane as the race resumed, his Lexus holding off Kizilirmak and Marsh, who in turn were backing up the likes of Shedden, Jackson, Mike Jordan and a charging Plato, who was already up to ninth.

It took two laps for Shedden to finally pick his way through the order, passing Stockton on lap 12 as his BTC Racing IS200 slipped back down the order, taking Kizilirmak and Marsh with him.

Nonetheless, Giovanardi and Jones already commanded an impressive lead, the Team AirCool Toledo managing to keep the Vectra honest of the next few laps before dropping away.

Indeed, Jones was now the target for those behind, with Shedden and Plato - ahead of Jackson now - on a charge back up the order. Despite Shedden's best efforts though, Plato's sweeter handling Leon helped him as he exited Clearways, the championship leader completing the move into Paddock Hill Bend. Plato didn't take long to hunt down Jones, who was clearly beginning to struggle in the rapidly drying conditions, snatching second place off him into Clearways on lap 24.

However, when Jones attempted to resist Shedden on the final lap, the Honda tapped the Toledo wide into the Paddock Hill Bend gravel and out of a podium position. Jones kept his foot down though to drive through the gravel and emerge out the other side, still in sixth position.

Giovanardi was the clear winner though, finishing untroubled nine seconds up the road from Plato, no doubt relieved to have recovered from his first lap spin. Shedden completed the podium, the Scot holding off the impressive Jackson.

Jordan, who started in the pit lane with slick tyres on, survived the carnage for fifth, ahead of a likely disgruntled Jones. Such was the attrition rate, Smith finished a remarkable seventh, despite having had to serve his two penalties, ahead of a repaired Jason Hughes in the Kartworld MG. Colin Turkington snared ninth place, the RAC driver a lap down but quick enough to pinch the fastest lap too. Kizilirmak, who scored his first point in the first race, backed that up with a second by crossing the line tenth, while Marsh and Stockton were the only others to be classified.

The third and final race will see Jones get his chance to avenge losing a podium when he starts on pole position, ahead of Jordan, Jackson, Shedden, Plato and Giovanardi.

For full results, Click Here