26 April 2009
Giovanardi wins Thruxton opener
Having secured pole position at Thruxton, Fabrizio Giovanardi led from start to finish to secure his first win of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship in race one.
At a circuit where he has won on numerous occasions in recent years, and where he lifted his first BTCC crown, the Italian was never headed at the front as he led home points leader Matt Neal, while Andrew Jordan completed a clean-sweep of the podium for the Vauxhall team in the first race since it announced it was to quit the sport at the end of the year.
When the race kicked off, Giovanardi led the field away with Neal behind, while a fast starting Colin Turkington saw his hopes of getting to the front come to nothing as he was squeezed by Jordan and Jason Plato. Plato tried to hold third as the cars headed to the complex, but Jordan swept through to secure third.
The race was a surprisingly subdued affair during the opening laps, with the man battles coming further down the top ten as the returning James Thompson battled hard with the BMW of Rob Collard.
Having put Jordan under pressure in the opening laps, Plato found himself under pressure from Turkington as the race wore on and on lap seven, Turkington took fourth at the complex, with Plato pitting with a vibration at the end of the lap. With the RML team unable to find a problem, he resumed at the rear of the field.
It left the three Vauxhalls out front ahead of Turkington and Paul O'Neill, who was producing a stunning performance at the wheel of the Team sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Honda, while Thompson had battled his way into the top six in the first of the Team Dynamics Honda Civics.
Thompson was under pressure from Adam Jones who took sixth place shortly before the Safety Car made a brief appearance on track for the SEAT of Liam McMillan, which had pulled off with apparent engine issues.
After the restart, the top six places would remain static through to the finish, but there were changes behind in the lower reaches of the top ten.
Johnny Adam had a look at Thompson to try and take seventh but instead found himself shuffled back out of the top ten, with the second Airwaves BMW of Rob Collard then making its attempt to secure the place. Collard made his move at the Chicane on lap 16 only for Thompson to defend and reclaim the place, with Stephen Jelley also able to find a way past Collard.
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