Fabrizio Giovanardi has been crowned the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion after overhauling the one point margin between himself and title rival Jason Plato in the final race of the season at Thruxton.

The race was ended two laps early following a smash for Mike Jordan in the Team Eurotech Honda, with Giovanardi's second place finish enough to give him the title by just three points, when Plato could only manage to get up to fourth.

An intense race from start to finish, the outcome was all but decided from the start when Giovanardi made a far better getaway from seventh on the grid, diving in front of a rather laboured Plato to come up to the Campbell Cobb chicane in sixth place.

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A typically fraught first few corners followed with Mat Jackson exiting Seagrave with the lead of the race, followed by Colin Turkington, the two BMWs showing of their impressive rear-wheel drive startline form to dive into an early lead.

They were followed by Matt Neal in the Honda initially, with Giovanardi following closely behind. He would pull alongside on the run up to the Club Chicane though and slot through into third place.

Plato on the other hand would end the first lap in seventh place, leaving him staring at the back of the fast starting Tom Chilton, who in turn had Neal and pole sitter Tom Coronel directly ahead.

Coronel quickly gave his place up through Campbell though, getting out of the way of Chilton and Plato as they promoted themselves to fifth and sixth.

Plato was seemingly not able to keep the pace though, slipping away from a top five that was being pulled along by the close but clean tussle between Jackson and Turkington. Giovanardi keept a safe distance behind, with Neal and Chilton in turn keeping things in check a comfortable margin back.

However, as Jackson and Turkington's battle intensified, the top five had no choice but to begin closing up, something that aided Plato as he began to beat down the gap between himself and what was now Neal after he was passed by a charging Chilton.

Soon Plato was on the back of the Honda Civic, the two renowned sparring partners getting ready for another tussle after their thrilling exchange in the second race.

However, while that proved clean, this battle was proving less so and when Plato bumped into the back of Neal on lap ten into Campbell, the outgoing champion attempted to regain the spot by crossing over the grass, but not doing quite enough to keep Plato behind. Neal retaliated soon after though by pushing Plato through Club chicane, prompting him to take the short route over the outside of the kerbs.

It proved to be a useful - if cheeky - decision as the rest of the field had a stationary BMW in their path after Turkington got it wrong on the final corner as he attempted to find his way past Jackson for the lead.

Plato was up into a comfortable fourth place now, side-by-side with Chilton but unable to wrestle the spot off the Vectra in order to give him a shot at getting ahead of Giovanardi.

However, with only two laps remaining, any hopes of Plato doing anything about a now second placed Giovanardi came to a premature end when the race was stopped after Mike Jordan went off heavily coming onto the pit straight. Forcing the ambulance onto the circuit, while Jordan was fine enough to be walking, but the heavy head-on shunt with the barriers was enough to prompt an early end to the race and therefore the season.

Despite some rather confused moments as the teams wondered if the race would restart, the appearance of the chequered flag was enough to launch riotous celebrations from the VX Racing team, who regain the BTCC title after missing out to Team Halfords for the last two seasons.

A popular winner of the title, it proves the Italian's eighth European touring car title, albeit the first in Britain and the first not in an Alfa Romeo for 15 years.

Adding to his Italian and European titles, Giovanardi joins the likes of Gabriele Tarquini, Frank Biela and Laurent Aiello as adding the British title to their extensive touring car repertoire.

The race itself was won by Jackson, the SEAT Cupra graduate ending an impressive debut BTCC season on a high with his second win of the season, even if it was somewhat overshadowed by events going on behind.

Chilton filled the gap between Giovanardi and Plato, the SEAT driver just not able to make his championship lead count when it mattered at the end of the season.

Behind the top four, Neal was fifth after fending off the late attentions of Darren Turner, while Adam Jones ended his sporadic first season in the BTCC with an Independent second place and seventh overall.

After his fraught first few laps, Coronel settled into eighth place to record three points finishes on his debut, while a recovering Gordon Shedden and a returning Rob Collard rounded out the top ten positions.

Outside the top ten, Turkington came back to finish 11th, but can at least console himself with the knowledge that he will come away from his sixth season in the series with his first trophy after wrapping up the Independents title in the second race.

Alain Menu was a distant 12th after dropping dramatically on the first lap as he was swamped, the Swiss driver nonetheless helping the team do enough to secure Vauxhall the manufacturers' title, if not the team title that goes the way to SEAT Sport UK.