Fabrizio Giovanardi has won the British Touring Car Championship for a second consecutive year following the first race at Brands Hatch.
Giovanardi only finished 14th in his Vauxhall Vectra after going off at Paddock Hill bend on the second lap. But with title rival Jason Plato finishing only fifth Giovanardi had amassed enough of a lead to keep the championship from Plato’s reach.
Mat Jackson won the race with three other BMWs in his wheel tracks: Steven Kane, Rob Collard and Colin Turkington.
Plato, whose Seat team is pulling out of the BTCC after this event, finished ahead of Giovanardi’s team mate Matt Neal.
Jackson won the second race from as, surprisingly, Giovanardi and both Seats hit trouble. Giovanardi failed to start the race with engine trouble and Plato retired from fourth with steering problems. Darren Turner dropped out of eighth on the final lap.
But it sets up an exciting season finale with the title rivals starting near the back, and Jackson poised to take second off Plato in the championship if the BMW driver out-scores his Seat rival by more than five points.