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Fabrizio Giovanardi completes first BTCC test of 2014 return

Former British Touring Car champion Fabrizio Giovanardi is positive about his return to the series after driving an NGTC machine for the first time.

The 2007-2008 champion will race for Motorbase on his series comeback this year and drove one of the team's Ford Focuses at Brands Hatch today.

The 47-year-old completed a number of installation laps in the damp in the morning before conducting longer runs in the afternoon.

"People have said these cars can be difficult to drive but I didn't really find that," said Giovanardi. "Today was fine, it was good to be out there.

"In my mind it doesn't matter, a car is a car and I have to understand how it works and see what I can do to improve it.

"The Indy circuit is a tough circuit and a difficult one to judge progress on a day like today but the car has run well."

Giovanardi nevertheless remains cautious about his chances of battling for wins straight away.

"I come here to fight at the front but we don't know yet, which is why we need to work," he added.

"We may not be fighting at the front straight away but the championship is long and we'll see what we can do."

Team boss David Bartrum, who has yet to confirm Motorbase's other 2014 drivers for its fleet of revamped Fords, said: "Today was all about Fabrizio getting comfortable in the car.

"He's getting used to the feel, gearchanges, seating position, pedals, everything. We want to be able to provide him with a fast and comfortable car, and then he'll go out and do the job for us, as his attention to detail is second to none.

"We've used the 2013 car today and the new car will look a bit different. We hope to be in the 2014 car next week, which is when the real work will begin.

"We will wait to assess Gio's feedback before taking that forward to the new car."

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