Fabrizio Giovanardi produced a move that showed why he is a multiple touring car champion to secure victory in the final HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Croft.
After the warm weather that greeted the drivers for the first two races, the final race of the weekend was held in torrential rain and led to a number of incidents and only limited racing laps as a result.
At the start, Paul O'Neill held the lead from pole into turn one with James Thompson behind, but Adam Jones was tipped into a spin exiting Hawthorne and slid into the tyre wall, calling for the deployment of the Safety Car.
O'Neill led out front as the field circulated behind the Safety Car, with Thompson, Giovanardi and Rob Collard following, but Collard lost out on the restart on lap four when he ran wide at Clervaux to drop down the order. Further back, Martin Johnson and James Nash both aquaplaned off at the same corner with the Safety Car being deployed however.
This time however, Neal was followed by Giovanardi who had dived inside Thompson at Hawthorn into second place, and the Italian took the lead when the race resumed again on lap ten as O'Neill suddenly slowed – his car appearing to simply lose power. Giovanardi then ran slightly wide at Tower to allow Thompson through into the lead, but the Team Dynamics driver's team-mate Dave Pinkney went straight on the right-hander and into the tyres – bringing the Safety Car back out again.
The race finally got back underway on lap 14 and Giovanardi made his move on the run through Barcroft, going to the outside of Thompson's Honda into Sunny In. The Italian held on around the outside through both Sunny In and Sunny Out which then gave him the inside line into the Complex to take the lead.
From there, the Italian was able to secure victory ahead of Thompson while Stephen Jelley took his third podium finish of the day with third place, giving the former F3 racer easily his best weekend to date. Andrew Jordan took fourth ahead of Jason Plato, although it remains to be seen if the Racing Silverline man will keep the place having tipped Matt Neal into a spin on lap 16.
Behind Plato, Colin Turkington took sixth ahead of Rob Collard and a recovering Neal, while Johnny Adam and Tom Chilton rounded out the top ten. Martyn Bell and John George were the two remaining finishers.
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