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VAUXHALL PRIMED FOR DRAMATIC FINALE - SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER

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  • VAUXHALL PRIMED FOR DRAMATIC FINALE - SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER

    VX Racing's Tom Chilton is determined to record his first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship win of 2006 before the series packs up for the winter this weekend, and the 21-year-old is well placed for tomorrow's racing, having out-qualified both his team-mates.

    Fabrizio Giovanadi had shown great promise in this morning's practice sessions, leading the first and finishing third in the second. Despite setting similar times in qualifying, however, the 39-year-old Italian found himself back in eighth place.

    Chilton had been trailing the former European Touring Car Champion, but a last minute burst of speed saw him elevated to fifth on the grid for tomorrow's round 28.

    Vauxhall's third works driver, Gavin Smith, qualified 11th - an incredible performance considering the 29-year-old Dubliner was nursing two broken ribs sustained in round 26 at Brands Hatch. Smith was given the OK to drive by the championship's doctor, who also administered a pain-killing injection.

    Tom Chilton:

    "For my last run in qualifying I changed the left damper for the high speed corner. The way the corner is shaped, the damper can't work fast enough. The car feels like it's on ice! I'd been suffering with oversteer all day.

    "I'm disappointed I wasn't faster because you don't get points for qualifying fifth. I really want to get a win before the end of the year. I feel like I've been robbed of a couple of race wins, which is just how it works in motorsport. If I don't win I'll just push myself harder over the winter.

    "Tomorrow I need to get a blinding start and then take advantage of the long straights."

    Fabrizio Giovanardi:

    "I was first and third in practice and now I'm eighth in qualifying. I don't know what happened. I did the same time throughout all three sessions so at least I know I'm consistent and the car is too.

    "I didn't feel any problem in the car. I expected to see a good time in qualifying - better than in practice because I've got new tyres but it's still the same. I've done a lot of pole positions in my career so I'm confused but I know that during the race I am harder than in qualifying. I'm just going to attack because there's no pressure on me."

    Gavin Smith:

    "The injection worked well for the second session but it was a little bit sore in qualifying. I'm not 100%. Tomorrow I'll get the injection directly into my ribs so it should be better - I've just got to decide when I take it now.

    "I know I'm about a tenth-and-a-half off my team-mates but I can't fully commit going around left hand corners, so I don't think that's too bad."

    The first of three 22-lap races will start tomorrow (Sunday) at 10.10.


    Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship
    Qualifying – Round 28
    1. Gareth Howell (Honda Integra) 1:00.411
    2. Colin Turkington (MG ZS) +0.176
    3. Matt Neal (Honda Integra) +0.211
    4. Darren Turner (SEAT Léon)
    5. Tom Chilton (Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch) +0.312
    6. Gordon Shedden (Honda Integra) +0.325
    7. James Thompson (SEAT Léon) +0.333
    8. Fabrizio Giovanardi (Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch) +0.346
    9. Mike Jordan (Honda Integra) +0.423
    10. Robert Collard (MG ZS) +0.429
    11. Gavin Smith (Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch) +0.521
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