18 May 2008
Round 11: TOC doubles up, heartache for Gio.
Tom Onslow-Cole secured his second victory of the day at Thruxton but only after team-mate – and defending HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship title winner – Fabrizio Giovanardi suffered heartache on the final lap of the race.
A poor start had seen Onslow-Cole swamped at the start after Colin Turkington jumped into the lead, with Giovanardi, Darren Turner and Matt Neal also getting ahead on the run to the Complex for the first time. However, the was action in the pack coming through the Complex as Andy Jordan was tipped into a spin by Stephen Jelley and Martyn Bell went off into the tyres in avoidance. With Chris Stockton also having an incident, the Safety Car was deployed as the Bell's Astra was removed.
Before the end of the opening lap, Tom Chilton had also been in the wars with a spin that dropped him down the order while elsewhere, Jason Plato was making up places after his race one exclusion and was now in 14th place.
Racing resumed on lap six with Giovanardi chasing Turkington and Neal pushing Turner hard for third. Through Church, Turkington got out of shape which gave Giovanardi a run up Woodham Hill with the Vauxhall man looking to the outside going into the Club Chicane. With Turkington trying to defend, both drivers ran wide and shortlined the corner, with Giovanardi now ahead of the BMW. Outside the top four Onslow-Cole was fifth ahead of Mat Jackson, with Adam Jones, Stephen Jelley and Steven Kane rounding out the top ten.
Giovanardi started to open a lead as Turkington appeared to be struggling with his tyres and on lap ten, Turner took second at the Club Chicane only to then run wide and allow Turkington back through. Having lost speed, both Neal and Onslow-Cole tried to also pass the SEAT but Turner and Neal both ended up running wide across the grass through Allard which allowed Onslow-Cole through into third behind the Team RAC BMW.
Onslow-Cole quickly closed onto the rear of Turkington and when the BMW ran wide at Church on lap 16, Onslow-Cole got the run up Woodham Hill to take second. The 21-year-old then set about closing the gap to Giovanardi but having reeled in the Italian, it was expected that he would hold position behind the champion and current points leader. However, on the final lap, Giovanardi's front left tyre cried enough and he went off at Church, rejoining the circuit to finish tenth but left to wonder what might have been.
It gave Onslow-Cole the win ahead of Turkington who was given some late breathing space as third placed Neal came under attack from Turner's SEAT. Despite getting a run at Campbell on lap 17, Turner couldn't find a way past the Vectra and was left just off the podium in fourth ahead of Mat Jackson's BMW and the SEAT of Adam Jones. Plato made his way up to a fine seventh place ahead of Gordon Shedden and Andy Jordan, with the youngster taking pole for the final race thanks to the reverse grid draw. It meant Giovanardi in tenth just missed out on securing pole to make up for his disappointment.
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