VX Racing fought hard for their 54 points at this weekend’s rounds 25, 26 and 27 of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Silverstone, edging ever close to securing the manufacturer’s, team’s and driver’s championships for 2008.
The wet conditions were causing some heavy traffic out on track, but the VX Racing team held it all together and once again leave as the most successful team of the weekend.
Starting under dubious weather conditions which quickly progressed to heavy rain, round 25 saw reigning champion Fabrizio Giovanardi drive a determined race to finish fifth after his 11th position start. Matt Neal started well and drove defensively to finish sixth despite safety car conditions between laps five and eight.
VX Racing rookie Tom Onslow-Cole gambled with the unpredictable conditions and prayed for dry weather as he left the grid with slicks on the front. After a change of tyres on lap five, Onslow-Cole fought through the field from the back of the pack to finally claim 11th position. Jason Plato won the race in his diesel SEAT.
Giovanardi claimed his fifth win of the season for VX Racing in round 26, after an eventful and wet race.
Starting from fifth, Giovanardi took the race lead from SEAT’s Jason Plato after some excellent racing manoeuvres paid off on lap 17. Giovanardi set the fastest lap time of the race on lap ten, with a 1:08.869, and finished with a time of 30:59.002.
Neal had a fantastic race also, taking the chequered flag in fourth. Onslow-Cole demonstrated the VXR Vectra’s pace in the second race, moving up from his 11th position start to finish in a very well deserved sixth place amid safety car conditions between laps four and eight, and a collection of incidents taking place all around him.
The final race at Silverstone saw Giovanardi claim his second podium of the day. The draw for round 27 started him from tenth on the grid, but he drove a consistent race and showed the true form of a champion to finish third.
Starting from seventh on the grid, Neal fell to fifteenth after a number of incidents caused heavy traffic mid-way through his race. The draw saw Onslow-Cole start from fifth position, who ran a clean race to finish sixth overall. Mat Jackson from BMW Dealer Team UK won the race.
VX Racing is currently leading the championship with 502 points.
Fabrizio Giovanardi #1
“I was disappointed that I couldn’t catch the SEAT’s in race one, but I’m glad that I managed to avoid much of the contact out on track this weekend as it was very busy out there. My finish in race two was just what I needed for my points as we only have three races left in the championship.
“The last race was a lot faster and I’m so pleased with the way the car ran. I focused on driving with a clear head as it is important to concentrate on the championships now. For me, this weekend at Silverstone was perfect!”
Matt Neal #4
“We got held for so long on the start of race one that I was worried about my start, but it all went to plan and I was thrilled with how the car ran for me today! Tyre wear has been a problem this weekend for us and once they’re gone you just become a sitting duck for those behind you, so I think we did well to finish with so many points. The VXR Vectra’s are inherently good in the wet, and we certainly showed that this weekend.”
Tom Onslow-Cole #10
“In race one we were hoping the weather wouldn’t get any worse, so we took a chance with the slicks and wet tyre mix. It was a gamble that could have really payed off for us so it was a risk worth taking for sure.
“Luckily in races two and three I managed to score some points for the team, but it was certainly tough out there, especially being stuck in the middle of the pack in wet conditions! I’m so glad to have come out the other end still secure in sixth position in the driver’s championship!”
Results Silverstone - Round 251) Jason Plato (SEAT Sport UK), 30:29.8292) Mat Jackson (BMW Dealer Team UK), 30:30.3743) Darren Turner (SEAT Sport UK), 30:36.0234) Colin Turkington (Team RAC), 30:36.1565) Fabrizio Giovanardi (VX Racing), 30:37.5686) Matt Neal (VX Racing), 30:38.0317) Stephen Jelley (Team RAC), 30:39.1578) Adam Jones (Team AirCool), 30:43.44811) Tom Onslow-Cole (VX Racing), 30:53.077
Results Silverstone - Round 261) Fabrizio Giovanardi (VX Racing), 30:59.0022) Colin Turkington (Team RAC), 31:01.7703) Adam Jones (Team AirCool), 31:02.8084) Matt Neal (VX Racing), 31:03.2875) Steven Kane (Motorbase), 31:06.3866) Tom Onslow-Cole (VX Racing), 31:07.6727) Jason Plato (SEAT Sport UK), 31:08.6608) Gordon Shedden (Team Halfords), 31:10.955
Results Silverstone - Round 271) Mat Jackson (BMW Dealer Team UK), 26:03.8752) Adam Jones (Team Air Cool), 26:07.129 3) Fabrizio Giovanardi (VX Racing), 26:08.1784) Colin Turkington (Team RAC), 26:10.3565) Jason Plato (SEAT Sport UK), 26:11.6436) Tom Onslow-Cole (VX Racing), 26:12.5967) Robert Collard (Motorbase), 26:17.5158) Michael Doyle (In-Tune Racing), 26:18.98615) Matt Neal (VX Racing), 27:00.167
2008 BTCC Driver’s Championship1) Fabrizio Giovanardi (261)2) Jason Plato (217)3) Colin Turkington (188)4) Mat Jackson (185)5) Matt Neal (165)6) Tom Onslow-Cole (155)7) Gordon Shedden (140)8) Darren Turner (129)
2008 BTCC Manufacturer’s Championship1) Vauxhall (623)2) SEAT (502)
2008 BTCC Team’s Championship1) VX Racing (502)2) SEAT Sport UK (318)3) Team Halfords (214)4) Team RAC (203)5) BMW Dealer Team UK (179)6) Motorbase (120)7) Team Air Cool (103)8) John Guest Racing (78)