Champions want biggest bite at Brands

VX Racing, current BTCC champions, are ready for the opening round of the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship taking place this weekend at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, ‘the garden of England’. Reigning Drivers’ champion, Fabrizio Giovanardi, in the No.1 VX Racing Vauxhall topped the time sheets in official testing last week and will be out to defend his title at every opportunity.

Matt Neal, Giovanardi’s team mate last season, takes the wheel of the No.2 VX Racing Vauxhall and is determined to take the Drivers’ title himself this season. Completing the driver line-up is Andrew Jordan, who will be driving the No.77 Vauxhall and will be making his debut with the team at Brands Hatch.

The VX Racing Vauxhall returns for its fifth consecutive season, with two championship winning years behind it. The car has continued to be developed during the winter and the team is aiming to take another title, although with the stiff competition and a grid of teams with the same goal, the drivers know it will not be easy.

Giovanardi has many years of experience and with two BTCC title wins in the last two years is favourite to take a hat trick in 2009, but the Italian is taking nothing for granted. He says of his prospects at Brands Hatch, “I won two of the three races at this track last year, so I will be expecting to match or better this, however we will have to be careful of the BMWs. I don’t think they have shown us their full potential and with four of these on the grid, they could give us some trouble. The short Indy circuit keeps the lap times close and it is set up which is key here.”

Neal expects to be running even closer to Giovanardi than he did last season and will be pushing right from the first race at the Brands circuit. He looks forward to the season opener predicting a tough battle: “It’s going to be close, but I don’t think some of our competitors have shown their full hand yet. It could be a bit of a scrap at the sharp end and Fabrizio is certainly my biggest competition. The Indy circuit at Brands is great for the crowd and for us drivers, with its stadium-like atmosphere, so it should be a good weekend.”

The teen of the team, Jordan, at only 19 years old and in his first season with VX Racing after his debut in the championship last year, has already shown in testing that he has the pace of his older team mates. He is heading to the first event with his eye on the podium saying, “It will be my first race weekend with VX Racing and although we’ve been out testing and I’ve raced in BTCC before, I’m sure there will be more for me to learn about the way the team operates. I’m keen to get back out racing as it’s been a long winter off and with a great car, a first-class crew and the best engineers in the paddock, I’m all set to go out to win.”

The first three races of the thirty round series take place on Sunday 5 April on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.  

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