Fabrizio Giovanardi admits that he and his Airwaves Racing team need to improve their qualifying performances if they are to have any chance of regularly competing at the front of the British Touring Car Championship in 2014.
Despite his 24 wins and two titles in the series, Giovanardi has never been at his best in qualifying and has only taken two pole positions in the 42 meetings he has entered. The Italian admits that this is something he needs to improve upon at Donington Park this weekend, having been on the back foot last time out when he qualified in 18th.
“This weekend will hopefully be better for us,” said Giovanardi. “We had a big analysis of the car after Brands Hatch and with the changes we have made for the set-up we should have a much more balanced car – especially in qualifying where we need to make the biggest improvement. If you can get out in front in qualifying then that is 80% of the work done.”
Giovanardi adds that he is aiming for podiums and points this weekend, having taken a best result of ninth last time out at Brands Hatch – his second worst weekend since joining the BTCC.
“I am aiming for podiums this weekend and to come away with points,” added the 47-year-old. “If a win comes then that is great, but if it doesn’t that is also OK. I’m quite far away from the top at the moment but it’s a long championship, we are only in the second weekend – I’m looking for points this weekend and just to be back in the fight.”
Giovanardi’s Airwaves team-mate Mat Jackson has historically also struggled in qualifying. The 2008 runner-up failed to qualify inside the top ten at all in 2013 but immediately bettered this in 2014 by setting the ninth fastest time at Brands Hatch.
“Taking the positives away from Brands Hatch, qualifying was a lot better than it has been before,” admitted Jackson. “P9 didn’t really tell the whole story – we were only two tenths off pole so I’m confident that with a few tweaks we can extract more time out of the car.”
Jackson also believes that the team can challenge for podiums this weekend, with the team having recently carried out further work on the car set-up to further improve their chances.
“We’re in good shape,” added Jackson. “We have a few things to try, but it’s more about building on what we already have this season rather than shooting from hip.
“The podium should be within reach this weekend, that’s where we need to be and we’re in a lot better position. I’m feeling confident and Donington will hopefully prove to be a good event for us.”