Age counts agree title maestros

Fabrizio Giovanardi and Jason Plato agree that their experience and wisdom are two key reasons why they are the last two drivers capable of winning this year's HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch this coming Sunday (21 September).

For the second year running the title will be settled on Finals Day between Giovanardi, aged 41, and 40-year-old Plato (pictured right).

Their nearest rivals Colin Turkington and Mat Jackson are aged a relatively tender 26 and 27 respectively, although with seven wins between them so far in 2008 have shown they are future champions in the making.

But for another season the young heirs to the throne can now only watch as more consistent, cannier maestros Giovanardi and Plato make Finals Day their own.

Italian Giovanardi is regarded by many in the sport as the world's best touring car driver - he has eight major titles to his name, including three European (now World) crowns and of course last year's BTCC.

Briton Plato is also among the world's top touring car talents - he made an immediate impact in the BTCC with pole position on his debut in 1997 and has become one of the most successful drivers in the championship's history, with a huge tally of 46 race wins as well as the title in 2001.

Vauxhall ace Giovanardi, seeking a second consecutive BTCC crown this Sunday, said: "We are quite old, me maybe a bit older! But we have good experience of the latest Super 2000 specification cars and touring cars in general - we have been racing them for more than a decade - and in the end this makes a difference.

"It can be car set-up, development, knowing how to react to different pressures or situations on the circuit, how to come back at a driver, sensing what might be about to happen and so on. All these things make the difference in the end."

SEAT superstar Plato added: "If you look at any top touring car championship around the world it's the guys who have the experience that have been there, done it and who are the ones who consistently flick the switch and deliver the goods.

"It's very tough for young guys to come in and have our jobs. We're wily old foxes."Adult race day tickets to see the BTCC title-decider at Brands Hatch this Sunday (21 Sept) cost just £22.00 if booked online at www.brandshatch.co.uk by midday tomorrow (Weds 17 Sept). Admission for children aged 12 and under is FREE. All prices include access to the lunchtime Pit Lane Walkabout session when the public is invited to cross the track to meet the BTCC's star drivers for autographs, photos and plenty of giveaways.

In addition to the BTCC's final three rounds which headline the day, a further seven races from supporting categories - Ginetta Juniors, Porsche Carreras, Renault Clios, Formula Renault single-seaters and SEAT Cupras - will all be in action. The Ginetta, Porsche, FRenault and SEAT title races will also be settled on the day.


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