Fabrizio Giovanardi will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for the season opener at Thruxton this weekend following a last minute deal with Triple Eight.

The Italian joined the team - which ran the works Vauxhall team until the end of 2009 - back in 2006 and secured back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.

Despite having one of the most impressive touring car resumes around, Giovanardi found himself without a drive following Vauxhall's decision to withdraw from the BTCC, with a rumoured switch to either the WTCC or the Italian Superstars series failing to materialise.

With Triple Eight electing to run two of its ex-works Vauxhall Vectras as Independents this season, Giovanardi will now get the chance to renew his rivalry with Jason Plato - who inked a similar last-minute deal with RML last season.

Giovanardi will partner Clio Cup champion Phil Glew, who was confirmed in the sister car last week.