Giovanardi claims pole at Thruxton

Fabrizio Giovanardi bounced back from his practice crash to take a stunning pole position for the British Touring Car Championship round at Thruxton

Giovanardi claims pole at Thruxton

The Vauxhall driver, who suffered major damage to his Vectra in a collision with Stephen Jelley in practice, produced a lap of 1m17.985s mid-way through the session to take what is only his second BTCC pole, the first having come at the same circuit two years ago.

All the more remarkable about the double champion's time is that it came on his only flying lap of the entire session.

Championship leader Matt Neal made it an all-Vauxhall front row, just as it had been at Brands Hatch three weeks ago. Neal, who was carrying 45kg of success weight compared to Giovanardi's ballast-free car, was 0.320 seconds slower.

Jason Plato languished down at the tail end of the top 10 for most of the session, but the former champion pushed hard in the final minute to move up to third spot on the grid in his RML-run Chevrolet, demoting Andrew Jordan to fourth, which was still a career-best for the third Vauxhall driver.

Colin Turkington was fifth quickest in the best of the WSR BMWs, while the star of qualifying was Paul O'Neill, who put his Tech-Speed Honda Integra a magnificent sixth on his return to the BTCC after over a year away.

Adam Jones's Clyde Valley Racing SEAT was seventh, one spot ahead of the Team Dynamics Honda of James Thompson. Dan Eaves, in the second Clyde Valley SEAT, and Mat Jackson's RML Chevrolet completed the top 10.

Motorbase Performance, which scored its maiden BTCC win at Brands Hatch, could only manage 11th and 12th places for Jonathan Adam and Rob Collard. Nick Leason failed to take part in the session due to technical issues with his Team AFM BMW.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall 1m17.985s 2. Matt Neal Vauxhall 1m18.305s +0.320 3. Jason Plato Chevrolet 1m18.326s +0.341 4. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall 1m18.354s +0.369 5. Colin Turkington BMW 1m18.407s +0.422 6. Paul O'Neill Honda 1m18.708s +0.723 7. Adam Jones SEAT 1m18.830s +0.845 8. James Thompson Honda 1m18.916s +0.931 9. Dan Eaves SEAT 1m18.952s +0.967 10. Mat Jackson Chevrolet 1m19.018s +1.033 11. Jonathan Adam BMW 1m19.091s +1.106 12. Rob Collard BMW 1m19.386s +1.401 13. Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet 1m19.447s +1.462 14. Stephen Jelley BMW 1m19.528s +1.543 15. Martyn Bell Honda 1m20.136s +2.151 16. David Pinkney Honda 1m20.174s +2.189 17. John George Honda 1m20.486s +2.501 18. Martin Johnson Vauxhall 1m20.865s +2.880 19. Tom Chilton Ford 1m21.110s +3.125 20. Liam McMillan SEAT 1m21.141s +3.156 21. Alan Morrison Ford 1m23.461s +5.476 
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