British Touring Car Championship legends Jack Sears and Andy Rouse have both admitted that the battle for the 2008 title is too close to call at the half-way point of the season.

Heading into the resumption of racing at Snetterton next month, defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi leads the way for VX Racing having won on four occasions during the first half of the year - giving the Italian a 23 point over team-mate Matt Neal with 15 races of the season left to run.

Mat Jackson is just 20 points further back in third place, with a further five points covering Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Tom Onslow-Cole in the standings.

That has set the scene for a titanic battle for the title during the second half of the campaign and neither Sears nor Rouse said they felt they could predict who will be on top at the end of the year.

"I don't know who will win as it is such a changeable competition - it could be anybodies," Rouse, the most successful driver in BTCC history, said. "It's been very close for the last few years and I think it will be close again.

"I would be hard pressed to make a choice but Matt Neal has come to the fore a bit and has been a great campaigner in years gone by. I think he might do it again."

Sears, winner of the first ever title back in 1958 following a shootout at Brands Hatch with Tommy Sopwith, added that his money would be staying firmly in his back pocket.

"People like Matt Neal, Jason Plato and Fabrizio are all going to be at the top," he said. "Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington are good drivers and for Mat Jackson to go from 18th to second in that second race at Croft was a hell of an achievement in the conditions.

"There are some hot-shoes about and I wouldn't put money on anyone at the moment as it's too difficult to pick a winner."


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