Reigning champions VX Racing have qualified all three cars in the top 12 for tomorrow’s round 28 of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Brands Hatch.
Keeping their BTCC crown’s in sight, VX Racing plan to fight hard in the final three races as the season draws to a close this weekend. Two-time champion Matt Neal showed off the Vauxhall Vectra VXR’s speed in qualifying, setting a lap time of 49.424, Matt will start from fourth on the grid tomorrow morning.
Defending driver’s champion Fabrizio Giovanardi was spectacularly fast in the morning’s free practise session carrying maximum success ballast of 45 kg, but has settled for qualifying 11th on the grid after setting a time of 49.578, amongst unexpected results from the rest of the field. With Giovanardi’s second BTCC title win at his fingertips, race one tomorrow will mark his most important race of the year.
Having set the pace in free practise earlier this morning and leading through the second session, Tom Onslow-Cole will start from 12th position on the grid after setting a time of 49.606. Pole position was secured by Stephen Jelley, with a time of 49.297.
Fabrizio Giovanardi #1“I am still smiling, because even though I will be starting lower down the grid that I would have liked, I am immediately behind Plato, and he is really my only concern. My fastest lap was within a tenth of a second of the pole sitter’s time, and the car feels great. I pushed it to the limit, and when everything feels as right as this, you have nothing to complain about. It’s all about other people’s points this weekend, I just keep doing sums in my head!”
Matt Neal #4“I feel good after qualifying; although really I could have done with a little more time because I felt I could have pushed that little bit further. Definitely at the right end of the grid though, and although tomorrow will be hard in the heat, I’m just looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Tom Onslow-Cole #10“I was really hoping for a much better qualifying performance today, especially after I led in free practise two. We kept the car set-up the same, and the track temperature stayed the same too, so I’m disappointed that I’ll be starting from 12th. I really wanted to finish in the top five for race one tomorrow, so I will still be aiming for this, I’ll just have to push really hard.”
Provisional Qualifying Results Brands Hatch – round 281) Stephen Jelley (Team RAC), 49.2972) Mat Jackson (BMW Dealer Team UK), 49.3593) Darren Turner (SEAT Sport UK), 49.4014) Matt Neal (VX Racing), 49.4245) Gordon Shedden (Team Halfords), 49.4276) Colin Turkington (Team RAC), 49.4657) Robert Collard (Motorbase), 49.4988) Adam Jones (Team Air Cool), 49.50411) Fabrizio Giovanardi (VX Racing), 49.57812) Tom Onslow-Cole (VX Racing), 49.606