Gordon Shedden says he doesn't see Fabrizio Giovanardi walking away with the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship title, despite the defending champion securing two wins in the season opener at Brand Hatch.

Giovanardi heads to Rockingham with a two point lead in the championship standings and will be looking to repeat the kind of form that saw him win twice at the Northamptonshire venue last season; the first wins for the Vectra after it was introduced at the start of the 2007 campaign.

Although his season opener ended with a retirement in the third race, Shedden lies sixth in the standings with his 17 points giving him the best start to a season since he joined Team Halfords in 2006, and the Scot said that he was confident of being one of the challengers for Giovanardi's crown.

"Fabrizio had a very strong weekend at Brands, but I certainly don't see him walking away with it," he said. "It is tougher out there than in 2007. We made a load of progress during the winter with our car but we've found, predictably, so have the others. And there are more genuine front-running car/driver/team combinations this year...

"Despite my DNF, this is also actually the best start I've had to a BTCC season so far. I've got more points than I had this time last year so I have to try and make that count.

"Like I said, there's still plenty of time to come back at them. This little Honda Civic we have will always be in there somewhere bobbing along in the pack and with a chance of podium results and wins."

Shedden added that he was hopeful of seeing more pace from the Honda Civic at Rockingham as he seeks a first win of the year and said he wasn't concerned by the 20 point gap to leader Giovanardi in the standings.

"We were quite happy with the car there on media day in March which was probably not reflected in our position in the times," he said, "and I know we'll be more competitive at Rockingham than at Brands any way.

"One DNF at this stage isn't that much of a problem. There's plenty of time to claw it back and for things to happen."

While most drivers took time to relax after the opening round of the season two weeks ago, Shedden kept himself busy by joining the Scuderia Ecosse GT team for a day of running at Knockhill, spending time at the wheel of the teams Ferrari 430 alongside regular drivers Jamie Davies and Fabio Babini.

"It was great to work through the Pirelli tyre test programme and see the consistency over the long runs maintained," he said. "The car has superb balance with the front end just perfect. The car could run and run which was fantastic."