Mat Jackson and Tom Chilton shared the victories in today's final three rounds of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. But the day belonged to Italy's Fabrizio Giovanardi who, for the second year running, was crowned BTCC Champion - bizarrely with his worst set of results this season.
Vauxhall driver Giovanardi (pictured right) finished outside of the points in race one after damaging his car, failed to start race two when his engine refused to start and only scored a point in race three because he set the race's fastest lap. It could have all played into the hands of last remaining title rival, SEAT's Jason Plato, but he also endured a rotten day and, in the end, rising star Jackson sneaked past him for second in the final points standings.
"I never had such a bad day on the track but still came out feeling so delighted," said Giovanardi. "I can see the funny side now but can you imagine the situation if Jason had won race one and maybe race two. To find myself with him at the back of the grid for race three. I just thought 'Oh my God' - this sums up both our days!
"But a second BTCC title is very special for everyone in the Vauxhall team and we won also the Manufacturers' and Teams' championships. The BTCC remains one of the most prestigious championships to win in motor sport. I am really aware of its history - this has been the championship's 50th year - and of some of the great names on the Champion's trophy. It makes me very proud to be among them."
The day's first two races were both won by BMW Dealer Team UK driver Jackson and fourth place in race three was enough to move him past Plato into the overall championship's runner-up spot. Plato has at least ended the season with an unrivalled eight race wins ahead of Giovanardi and Jackson on five apiece. Chilton, meanwhile, ended his 2008 campaign with his first win in three seasons for his Team Halfords squad.
There were also celebrations in the Team RAC camp as Colin Turkington and his squad successfully defended their respective Independent Drivers' and Teams' titles. Likewise there was plenty to cheer for the Motorbase team which, on its home circuit, enjoyed its best performance to date with drivers Steven Kane and Robert Collard managing three podium finishes between them.
For full race reports, results, photos and other latest news visit the BTCC's official website www.btcc.net.
Result, BTCC race 1 Brands Hatch (provisional): 1. Mat Jackson (GBR), BMW Dealer Team UK/BMW 320si, 26 laps in 22m30.106s2. Steven Kane (GBR), Motorbase/BMW 320si, + 2.101s3. Robert Collard (GBR), Motorbase/BMW 320si, +7.780sFastest lap: Kane, 49.703s
Result, BTCC race 2 Brands Hatch (provisional):1. Mat Jackson (GBR), BMW Dealer Team UK/BMW 320si, 24 laps in 20m14.716s2. Matt Neal (GBR), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +1.839s3. Colin Turkington (GBR), Team RAC/BMW 320si, +2.483sFastest lap: Jackson, 49.581s
Result, BTCC race 3 Brands Hatch (provisional): 1. Tom Chilton (GBR), Team Halfords/Honda Civic, 25 laps in 24m47.517s2. Steven Kane (GBR), Motorbase/BMW 320si, +0.727s3. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), VX Racing/Vauxhall Vectra VXR, +1.166sFastest lap: Giovanardi, 49.871s
Final BTCC Drivers Points (provisional):1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), 262 points CHAMPION2. Mat Jackson (GBR), 2263. Jason Plato, 223 4. Colin Turkington, 212 5. Matt Neal (GBR), 185 6. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), 170etc.
Final BTCC Manufacturers Points (provisional):1. Vauxhall, 6972. SEAT, 545
Final BTCC Teams Points (provisional):1. VX Racing, 5372. SEAT Sport UK, 3283. Team Halfords, 281etc.
Final BTCC Independent Drivers Points (provisional):1. Colin Turkington, 3232. Mat Jackson, 3133. Adam Jones (GBR), 262etc.
Final BTCC Independent Teams Points (provisional):1. Team RAC, 3402. BMW Dealer Team UK, 3213. Motorbase, 265etc.