For today's round 16 of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Snetterton, Norfolk, champions VX Racing have qualified all three cars in the top 11.
Following an eventful 30-minute qualifying session, which saw all three VX Racing cars leave the track on lap ten; reigning BTCC Driver’s Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi will start from fourth on the grid following his blistering qualifying time of 1:11.687 despite carrying maximum championship ballast of 45 kilo’s, with team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole hot on his heels in sixth. Matt Neal finished in 11th position in his 36 kilo success ballast burdened car. Pole position was won by SEAT’s Jason Plato with a time of 1:11.145.
The VX Racing team proved their pit-lane pedigree once again, as they succeeded in returning both Matt Neal’s and Tom Onslow-Cole’s cars to the final 11-minutes of qualifying, after their oil related off’s and a subsequent red flag.
Fabrizio Giovanardi #1
“I only got to complete nine laps of qualifying, which was a shame as I felt I could have gone even faster. Unfortunately as I ran wide on the second corner, I hit a bump in the track which damaged my radiator. The car overheated very quickly so I had to pull off the track at Russell and switch off. The weather forecast for tomorrow is dry, so the racing should be fast and furious.”
Tom Onslow-Cole #10
“I had a very neat lap to get sixth, and the car felt great. Unfortunately I did go off when I hit the oil on lap ten, but when you can’t see it on the track, what can you do? I am hoping for a top three finish tomorrow in race one, but a top five would be what we need to maintain our points lead.”
Matt Neal #4
“I’m disappointed with my qualifying time, as the car felt so good I would have hoped for a better final qualifying position. Tomorrow is another day, and judging by today’s action it will be very busy out on track! It will certainly be a tough fight, and everybody feels hungry for the points. Hopefully I can avoid any oil tomorrow!”
Provisional Qualifying Results Snetterton – round 161. Jason Plato (SEAT Sport UK), 1:11.1452. Darren Turner (SEAT Sport UK), 1:11.2673. Gordon Shedden (Team Halfords), 1:11.6364. Fabrizio Giovanardi (VX Racing), 1:11.6875. Tom Chilton (Team Halfords), 1:11.7146. Tom Onslow-Cole (VX Racing), 1:11.7887. Colin Turkington (Team RAC), 1:12.0318. Steven Kane (Motorbase), 1:12.23511. Matt Neal (VX Racing), 1:12.381
Live coverage of the racing can be seen on ITV4 on Sunday 13 July from 12.30 to 14.30, and from 17.00 to 18.00.
VX Racing currently leads the BTCC Teams Championship, with a 137 point advantage over their nearest rivals, following an impressive performance to date in 2008, clocking up seven wins from 15 races.
Rounds 16, 17 and 18 will be held at the Norfolk circuit today (Sunday), with the first race starting at 11.10.
Vauxhall is the most successful manufacturer of the modern era of BTCC, having accumulated 118 race wins, since first entering the BTCC in 1989, Vauxhall and its drivers have won the following:
Manufacturers’ Championships:Vauxhall Vectra (2007) VXR Astra Sport Hatch (2005) Astra Coupé (2004) Astra Coupé (2003) Astra Coupé (2002) Astra Coupé (2001) Cavalier GSi (1992)
Drivers’ Championships:Fabrizio Giovanardi (2007) James Thompson (2004) Yvan Muller (2003) James Thompson (2002) Jason Plato (2001) John Cleland (1995) John Cleland (1989)
Teams’ Titles (2004, 2003, 2002, 2001)The Vauxhall Vectra won ten races in its debut 2007 season.
Technical information: * Vectra VXR* Four cylinder engine with 2000cc capacity * Transverse mounted six-speed transmission * Front suspension: Racing design McPherson struts with lightweight lower wishbones and anti-roll bar * Rear suspension: Lightweight torsion beam with anti roll bar. Penske damper units & Eibach springs * 17" x 9" wheels * Vehicle weight 1140 kg (including driver) The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) was formed in 1958 and is the UK’s most popular motor racing spectacle. Its race season comprises ten events at top circuits across the UK. It is contested by professional racing drivers in competition versions of every day road cars, giving it tremendous public appeal. Around 300,000 spectators watch the BTCC trackside each year.