Giovanardi wins bruising BTCC race one
Vauxhall's Fabrizio Giovanardi gave his chances of another British Touring Car title a boost by winning an incident-packed first race at Snetterton. Mat Jackson came through to second in the Silverline Chevrolet, with Paul O'Neill a delighted third in his Tech-Speed Honda Integra.
Front row starters Jason Plato and Colin Turkington both fell out of victory contention on a bruising opening lap.
Turkington had outdragged Plato into the first corner, despite Plato's best efforts to stop the WSR BMW getting heat into its tires with a very slow formation lap. Plato retaliated into the Esses further around lap one, but contact was made, sending Turkington into a spin. The touch also cost Plato momentum, allowing Jordan to try and take advantage on the exit of the corner, where another collision sent Plato skittering across the infield and let Andrew Jordan take the lead. While Turkington was able to continue in eighth, Plato had to pit and retire soon afterwards with a bent trackrod.
With James Thompson (Dynamics Honda) forced wide and down to fourth as he tried to drive around the outside of Jordan, Vauxhall moved into one-two formation, initially with Jordan ahead, but only for two laps before Giovanardi claimed the lead. The Italian then pulled away, leaving Jordan to fend off the recovering Thompson, who finally slipped ahead into the Russell chicane at half-distance, only to slow and retire with a smoking car moments later.
Thompson's slowing Honda led to a rather over-cautious safety car deployment, but this mattered little to Giovanardi, who calmly pulled away at the restart. It was bad news for Jordan, though, as the young Briton spun at the Esses as he tried to resist huge pressure from Jackson, who went through to claim second.
O'Neill grabbed third with a great move on Jonathan Adam (Motorbase BMW), who then resisted the delayed Turkington over the final laps.
A first-corner tangle sent title contender Matt Neal spinning to the tail of the field. He recovered to salvage ninth.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall 23m43.973s
2. Mat Jackson Chevrolet + 2.369s
3. Paul O'Neill Honda + 5.616s
4. Jonathan Adam BMW + 7.016s
5. Colin Turkington BMW + 7.243s
6. Stephen Jelley BMW + 7.722s
7. Adam Jones SEAT + 9.923s
8. David Pinkney Honda + 10.408s
9. Matt Neal Vauxhall + 13.939s
10. Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet + 14.384s
11. Tom Chilton Ford + 14.778s
12. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall + 21.273s
13. John George Honda + 27.158s
14. Martin Johnson Vauxhall + 50.869s
Rob Collard BMW 17 laps
James Nash Chevrolet 12 laps
James Thompson Honda 9 laps
Gordon Shedden SEAT 5 laps
Jason Plato Chevrolet 3 laps