After asking you to vote for your leading drivers from the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season, the time has come to reveal the driver you voted the top star of 2008.

More than 7,000 votes were cast on the BTCC poll, with each drivers average score out of ten then being calculated to decide the winner.

BTCC Driver of the Year - Winner:

Name: Fabrizio GiovanardiTeam: VX RacingCar: Vauxhall Vectra (S2000)Wins: 5Podiums: 10Fastest laps: 8Championship points: 262Championship position: 1st

After taking the title in 2007, Fabrizio Giovanardi went into the 2008 as the man everyone else wanted to beat - with the Italian seeking to join the list of drivers to win back-to-back titles.

With his main rival from 2007, Jason Plato, taking on the challenge of running a new car for the 50th anniversary season, Giovanardi was aware of the need to score bit early on in the season and a double win at Brands Hatch was the perfect start.

A podium at Rockingham was followed by a third win of the year at Donington and win number four should have come at Thruxton before a puncture on the final lap of race two handed the win to team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole. Giovanardi at least managed to take the flag in tenth place.

A win in the final race at Croft left the Italian 23 points clear of Matt Neal in the standings, while Plato was 46 points off the pace and had work to do if he was to take a second title.

While Plato clearly had the dominant car during the second half of the season, Giovanardi continued to wrack up the points to minimise his losses to his rivals behind, with Mat Jackson and Colin Turkington also trying to launch their own title challenges as Neal faltered.

A win at Silverstone, his fifth of the year, meant that the title was all but won heading to Brands Hatch and it proved to be a blessing for Giovanardi as the Italian endured his worst weekend since joining the series - scoring just a single point.

However, with Plato managing just six points himself, the title was secured in the opening race of the weekend and the Italian will now attempt to make it three-in-a-row in 2009.

"It's my ninth title, but you never get bored of it and I want to win a tenth!" he said. "Every year is different though. SEAT won't be here but the BMWs are strong and so is the Honda, so we can't relax over the winter and need to work hard to keep improving our car.

"It was a very strange weekend and we couldn't have bet on the results at Brands Hatch. We thought we could score nine points easily as even on my worst weekend we scored something like 23 points. I was lucky that the SEAT wasn't as fast as it was before. If I look back now, scoring one point, I could have lost the championship with a 44 point lead!"

To see the full results of the BTCC Driver of the Year poll, CLICK HERE.



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