Qualifying Key to Great Britain's Durban Hopes Wednesday 21 February, 2007 -- The streets of Durban get set to host Round 8 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, 23rd-25th February, with A1 Team Great Britain relishing the ...
Qualifying Key to Great Britain's Durban Hopes
Wednesday 21 February, 2007 -- The streets of Durban get set to host Round 8 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, 23rd-25th February, with A1 Team Great Britain relishing the prospect of returning to the 2.04-mile temporary South African circuit. A sell-out crowd of 100,000 race fans greeted the international field last season when Durban debuted on the A1GP calendar with this year's race promising to deliver more of the same wheel-to-wheel action.
Burbage's Robbie Kerr will again handle race duties for the British team having savored a second place Sprint podium in Durban in 2006. The former British F3 Champion was also a contender in the Feature race before problems in the pits eventually led to his retirement and an unwelcome DNF at the tight, twisting track situated just 300m from the golden sands of Durban's North Beach.
With qualifying the key to success at most street circuits, Kerr arrived in South Africa this week confident that the British entry, currently fourth in the A1GP Nations Standings, will be up to speed based not only on last season's performance, where he qualified on the front-row alongside A1 Team France's pole-sitter Alexandre Premat, but also on the pace demonstrated last time out in Australia.
While the last four races in New Zealand and Australia respectively netted A1 Team GBR one solitary point, a tenth place finish in Round 7's Feature at the Eastern Creek International Raceway, the results on paper don't reflect the true pace and performance demonstrated by Kerr at those events. Lady luck deserted him at the previous round down-under when his third place qualifying effort was wiped out with a puncture in the Sprint race. Forced to start from the rear of the field in the Feature, Kerr superbly demonstrated his pedigree to salvage tenth at the chequered and the final point available.
Cambridgeshire's Oliver Jarvis will again be on-hand this weekend to fulfill driving duties for the British team in Friday morning's Rookie-Only Session. The 22-year-old, last season's British F3 Championship Runner-Up, proved himself to be an accomplished street racer when he made his A1GP competition debut in November, scoring the team's first podium of the season with a stunning drive to second place in the Feature race on the temporary Jingkai Circuit in Beijing, China.
"I've been itching to get back into the car," said Kerr upon his arrival in South Africa. "I've had two top-six qualifying slots in the previous two meetings and unfortunately, through circumstances beyond our control on the track, we've not been able to convert them into valuable points paying positions! For sure we want to rectify that this weekend in Durban, we were super competitive here last year and I see know reason why we can't repeat that this time round and aim for the top step of the podium."
Team Principal John Surtees points to qualifying as key to the British outfit's success in Durban. "The nature of the track doesn't lend itself to much overtaking," he stated. "Saturday's qualifying runs are likely to determine Sunday's race results so our objective has to be focused on being up there on the timesheets when it matters. Robbie just missed pole last year so I'm confident of a strong showing."
Sunday's Sprint race starts at 11am in Durban (9am GMT Sunday) with the Feature race starting at 3pm local time (1pm GMT Sunday). Sky Sports 2 will broadcast the action live from South Africa on Sunday 25th February starting at Noon -- please check www.skysports.com for further details.
-credit: team great britain