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Giovanardi gets back into a BTCC car at Brands Hatch

Thursday, February 13 2014

Double British Touring Car Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi experienced his first taste of modern BTCC machinery at Brands Hatch today (Thursday), ahead of his comeback to the series at the venue on 29/30 March.

Shaking down the 2013 car, the Italian made the most of the track time available, and spent a great deal of time discussing set-ups with his engineers in the garage. Talking to MSV, he confirmed his excitement about returning to BTCC action, after an enforced hiatus.

"I was really wondering how to find a way to come back," he explained. "Because I was doing long distance races since I moved from the UK, and it's not my driving style! I need to fight with the other guys, and in long distance racing, sometimes you get bored!

"From 2010 until now there weren't the conditions to come back, there was no money and that's it. So, now I'm really excited, even if I'm getting old! I'm really looking forward to starting again, to go bumper to bumper with the other guys!"

First impressions count, and the 47-year-old touring car veteran was happy with the NGTC Focus: "It's not bad. I heard from other guys who were driving that the car is difficult and different compared to Super 2000, but in my mind it doesn't matter, because a car is a car. I have to understand how it works and what I can do with the car, and the feedback from the turbo, but at the end of the day, it is a car to drive."

He still has a lot to learn, however, and the team has an extensive test schedule planned. One of the challenges is getting used to driving on the right-hand side of the car: "I had to remap the circuit because I was driving a left-hand-drive car before and now I'm on the right, so I cannot see where the kerbs are!

Then there is the challenge of beating his six champion rivals. "I don't think that's the problem," he countered. "It's always different, always tough. To win a championship makes a difference - you are a hero but it's a new season, a new car, new guys. I have to try to stay in front of everyone, it doesn't matter who it is!"

Even so, Giovanardi is making no predictions for round one, just six weeks' away, at this stage: "With the type of car, with everything I have no idea, I have to try to test and then we'll see what we can do. But it's not that important to win straight away, obviously it makes yourself happy and the team too, but the championship is long."

Tickets for the 2014 rounds at Brands Hatch Indy, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Brands Hatch GP are now on sale from £26 and you can find out more and order them by clicking the links for each circuit. Money-saving season passes are also available. Click here for more details.