AT SILVERSTONE - GIOVANARDI CLOSE TO BACK-TO-BACK BTCC CROWNSJason Plato, defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson shared the spoils in today's three incident-packed HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races in front of a 27,000 crowd at a wet Silverstone. Giovanardi's victory not only provisionally secured Vauxhall its seventh Manufacturers' Championship in eight years but also moved the Italian within reach of back-to-back BTCC Drivers' titles.
With just three rounds remaining at Brands Hatch, Kent on Sunday 21 September, the Vauxhall ace holds a 44-point lead over Plato (SEAT Sport UK) with 52 points on offer. Plato won today's opening race to give his title hopes fresh impetus but was then beaten by Giovanardi in the following two encounters. Jackson's victory in race three came thanks to a great drive from 13th on the grid after a spin in race two. The result keeps Jackson (BMW Dealer Team UK) in the running for the hotly-contested Independents' Championship which is led by Colin Turkington (Team RAC).
After today's three races, Giovanardi admitted the Drivers' title was almost his. He said: "You can never tell in motor racing but I'm pretty confident as I'm going to Brands Hatch needing just a handful of points."
Though not willing to concede the crown, Plato admitted his hopes were fading fast. "While there's still a chance, I'll keep going," he vowed. "We led all three races today but struggled when the track was slippery rather than really wet. My main focus now is on winning more races so we start next year strong."
BTCC Silverstone, Race 1 (provisional):1. Jason Plato (GBR, SEAT Sport UK/SEAT Leon TDi, 25 laps in 30m29.829s2. Mat Jackson (GBR), BMW Dealer Team UK/BMW 320si, +0.545s3. Darren Turner (GBR) SEAT Sport UK/SEAT Leon TDi, +6.194sFastest lap: Jackson, 1m08.144s (86.58mph)
Silverstone Race 2 (provisional):1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, 25 laps in 30m59.002s2. Colin Turkington (GBR), Team RAC/BMW 320si, +2.768s3. Adam Jones (GBR), Team Air Cool/SEAT Leon, +3.806sFastest lap: Giovanardi 1m08.869s (85.67mph)
Silverstone Race 3 (provisional):1. Mat Jackson (GBR), BMW Dealer Team UK/BMW 320si, 22 laps in 26m3.875s (83.00mph)
2. Adam Jones (GBR), Team Air Cool/SEAT Leon, +3.254s
3. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +4.303sFastest lap: Plato, 1m09.464s (84.94mph)
LATEST POINTS (AFTER 27 OF 30 ROUNDS)
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA) , 261 points
2. Jason Plato (GBR), 217
3. Colin Turkington (GBR), 188
4. Mat Jackson (GBR), 185
5. Mat Neal (GBR), 165
6. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), 155
1. Vauxhall, 623 (provisional champion)
2. SEAT, 502
1. VX Racing, 502 (provisional champion)
2. SEAT Sport UK, 318
3. Team Halfords, 214
1. Colin Turkington, 293
2. Mat Jackson, 271
3. Adam Jones (GBR), 253
1. Team RAC, 308
2. BMW Dealer Team UK, 279
3. Team Air Cool, 244