VX Racing dominates BTCC standings
VX Racing displayed outstanding race performances despite difficult weather conditions in today's round 13, 14 and 15 of the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at Croft, North Yorkshire.
The Luton-based manufacturer took a brilliant race win in race three thanks to a stunning drive from Fabrizio Giovanardi behind the wheel of the Vectra VXR. Matt Neal added to the glory with three podium positions.
The team continues to dominate the BTCC Drivers', Manufacturers' and Teams' Championship following its most successful points' weekend of the season to date.
The reigning BTCC Drivers' and Manufacturers' Champions secured its first podium position of the day with Neal finishing in second in a chaotic and wet first race.
The race was started in extremely difficult conditions with the inevitable red flag being shown on the third lap, due to an incident involving two cars.
Following a delay of 25 minutes, the race was re-started with the grid positions taken from the three completed laps of the race with VX Racing's Neal, Tom Onslow-Cole and Giovanardi starting from third, fifth and eighth respectively.
Persistent rain and standing water on the track made racing almost impossible with cars leaving the track at every corner. The race was eventually red-flagged and stopped after only three further laps.
Giovanardi took home a strong fourth place, with Onslow-Cole finishing in 19th after the Vauxhall works driver ran wide due to the torrential conditions.
Race two went ahead in better conditions and Neal secured another strong podium position, finishing third.
Starting from second on the grid in his Vectra VXR, Neal dropped back into third. Soon after this the VX Racing driver found an opportunity to take back the lost position from Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic). Coming into Tower Bend, Neal lined-up on the inside with Shedden sliding off into the grass due to the damp track conditions.
The reigning BTCC Champion Giovanardi started from fourth and after holding position for most of the race, the Italian was forced to give way to Robert Collard (BMW) to finish in fifth place.
Tom Onslow-Cole started from 19th on the grid and following some great overtaking manoeuvres, the 21-year-old took home a good 11th place by the chequered flag.
VX Racing finished on a high in race three, securing a triumphant race win for Fabrizio Giovanardi and a third place for Matt Neal.
Giovanardi, who also set the fastest lap of the race, started from third on the grid and on the second lap charged past the BMW of Robert Collard to lead the race. The safety car was briefly deployed on lap three and once racing commenced on lap seven, the reigning BTCC Champion drove home to take a comfortable fourth race win of the season.
Neal secured his third podium position of the day, whilst Onslow-Cole finished in a solid seventh place after starting from eleventh.
Matt Neal #4
"It was just a great day today getting three podiums; I love being on the podium. I desperately wanted to get a VX Racing one-two in the third race, but I played it safe and settled for third and solid points instead.
"Race one was certainly a busy race. I was quite gutted the race was finished early as I felt we had the pace to win the race.
"The Vectra VXR was absolutely perfect even in the tricky conditions we had today. I have now moved into second place in the championship standings. Fabrizio is a pretty special guy and I think we will have a great fight for the championship title this year."
Fabrizio Giovanardi #1
"I could not see a thing in race one; it was very wet out there. I also broke my windscreen wipers which made it even more difficult. It was great to finish fourth in race one but with the red-flags it was not really a race. It was just a case of who crashed out in front of you."
"We knew we had the pace throughout the day and the win at the end of the day was great result for us. We made some changes and had the perfect set-up for the weather conditions in the last race.
"After my disappointing qualifying on Saturday I couldn't have hoped for a better result."
Tom Onslow-Cole #10
"The result from race one really hindered us from getting better results in the next two races. Once the race was re-started, there was just too much water on the track and I went wide.
"I started from 19th in race two and it was so difficult to make up places from so far back, especially when you have ten or so really good drivers ahead of you.
"Still we managed to fight back in the last race and scored some points, so it was a good finish to a bad day."
BTCC Round 13 Race Result
1. Colin Turkington (BMW 320si)
2. Matt Neal (Vauxhall Vectra VXR)
3. Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic)
4. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Vectra VXR) 5. Robert Collard (BMW 320si E90) 6. Mike Jordan (Honda Integra) 7. Steven Kane (BMW 320si E90) 8. Adam Jones (SEAT Leon) 19. Tom Onslow-Cole (Vauxhall Vectra VXR)
BTCC Round 14 Race Result
1. Colin Turkington (BMW 320si)
2. Mat Jackson (BMW 320si)
3. Matt Neal (Vauxhall Vectra VXR)
4. Robert Collard (BMW 320si E90)
5. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Vectra VXR) 6. Adam Jones (SEAT Leon) 7. Mike Jordan (Honda Integra) 8. Jason Plato (SEAT Leon TDi) 11. Tom Onslow-Cole (Vauxhall Vectra VXR)
BTCC Round 15 Race Result
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Vectra VXR) 2. Adam Jones (SEAT Leon) 3. Matt Neal (Vauxhall Vectra VXR) 4. Tom Chilton (Honda Civic) 5. Mat Jackson (BMW 320si) 6. Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic) 7. Tom Onslow-Cole (Vauxhall Vectra VXR) 8. Colin Turkington (BMW 320si)
2008 BTCC Drivers' Championship
1. Fabrizio Giovanardi (145)
2. Matt Neal (122)
3. Mat Jackson (102)
4. Jason Plato (99)
5. Colin Turkington (98)
6. Tom Onslow-Cole (97)
7. Gordon Shedden (84)
8. Darren Turner (78)
2008 BTCC Manufacturers' Championship
1. Vauxhall (351)
2. SEAT (284)
2008 BTCC Teams' Championship
1. VX Racing (307)
2. SEAT Sport UK (170)
3. Team Halfords (130)
4. Team RAC (103)
5. BMW Dealer Team UK (100)
6. Team Air Cool (73)
7. John Guest Racing (54)
8. Motorbase (37)