Giovanardi tops Thruxton practice

Fabrizio Giovanardi proved that a lack of winter activity has not slowed him down in the slightest as he set the fastest time in practice ahead of this weekend's British Touring Car Championship season-opener at Thruxton

Giovanardi tops Thruxton practice

The Italian, who only signed his deal with the Triple 8 Vauxhall squad 48 hours ago, clocked the benchmark time of 1m17.981s in the afternoon practice session, to beat Matt Neal's Honda by 0.273s.

His session was ended early though, as he pitted with a gearbox problem with 10 minutes remaining.

"This car has basically been built in less than a week," he said. "So you have to expect these kinds of problems."

Neal had led from his team-mate Gordon Shedden in the morning session, but with that taking place on a damp track, every driver improved on their mark during the afternoon running.

Mat Jackson put in a superb lap mid-way through the session to put his Motorbase BMW third, while Andrew Jordan was fourth quickest - and the best placed of the turbocharged cars - in his Eurotech Vauxhall.

Tom Chilton's LPG-powered Arena Ford was fifth, while Jason Plato was the best of the Chevrolet drivers in seventh - and the last man within a second of Giovanardi's pace.

Paul O'Neill, who only completed a handful of laps during the opening session to scrub in some tyres, was eighth in his Tech-Speed Honda, one place ahead of Phil Glew's Triple 8 Vauxhall.

Steven Kane, who was 14th quickest, had a scary moment during the morning session as he spun his Motorbase BMW at high speed at Goodwood corner. He recovered without hitting anything.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall 1m17.981s 2. Matt Neal Honda 1m18.254s +0.273s 3. Mat Jackson BMW 1m18.325s +0.344s 4. Andrew Jordan Vauxhall 1m18.534s +0.553s 5. Tom Chilton Ford 1m18.542s +0.561s 6. Gordon Shedden Honda 1m18.585s +0.604s 7. Jason Plato Chevrolet 1m18.946s +0.965s 8. Paul O'Neill Honda 1m19.077s +1.096s 9. Phil Glew Vauxhall 1m19.259s +1.278s 10. David Pinkney Vauxhall 1m19.280s +1.299s 11. Rob Collard BMW 1m19.422s +1.441s 12. Tom Boardman SEAT 1m19.599s +1.618s 13. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford 1m19.696s +1.715s 14. Steven Kane BMW 1m19.699s +1.718s 15. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet 1m19.844s +1.863s 16. Matt Hamilton Honda 1m20.188s +2.207s 17. Martin Johnson Vauxhall 1m20.672s +2.691s 18. John George Honda 1m20.841s +2.860s 19. Shaun Hollamby Volkswagen 1m21.939s +3.958s 20. Andy Neate BMW 1m22.506s +4.107s 
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Giovanardi seals late Triple 8 deal

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