Italian racer Fabrizio Giovanardi says that he needs more testing time before he will be truly on the pace of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on his return to the category at Brands Hatch on Sunday.
Giovanardi is one of the seven champions that will race in the category this year and he will drive the two-litre turbocharged Airwaves Racing Ford Focus ST. He has been running through a development programme with the team but he has yet to find the sweet spot in terms of the handling.
“At this point, I need time in the car,” said 47-year-old Giovanardi, from Sassuolo. “I understand the car now after the tests we have done, but we need more mileage to get to the point where the set-up suits me perfectly and I don’t think that we are going to get enough time before the opening rounds at Brands Hatch. We will try hard to make this happen, but it won’t happen straight away – and if things are not 100 per cent this season, it is going to be hard to be right at the front of the pack.”
Giovanardi was a back-to-back champion in 2007 and 2008 in a Vauxhall Vectra but left the series in 2009 when the manufacturer pulled out of the competition. He is eager to get back to the action.
“I want the fight – not that much, because I want to be in front,” he jokes. “I have missed the racing in the UK because it is so hard to win, so it will be a tough championship for sure and if you look at the gaps between the drivers, it isn’t that great and we need to push hard just to be in the mix. When the gaps are so small and everyone is battling for every inch, then that means anything can happen throughout the field.
"I like racing with the guys that I know well – and I get on with lots of people – but I want to be in front of them. That is the only reason I am here.”