Rookie Jarvis celebrates Chinese podium for Great Britain Sunday November 12, 2006 -- Rookie racer Oliver Jarvis steered A1 Team Great Britain to its first podium of the season today as he celebrated a second place finish in the Feature race in...
Rookie Jarvis celebrates Chinese podium for Great Britain
Sunday November 12, 2006 -- Rookie racer Oliver Jarvis steered A1 Team Great Britain to its first podium of the season today as he celebrated a second place finish in the Feature race in Round 3 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, hosted on the streets of Beijing, China. The 22-year-old from Cambridgeshire, making his first ever A1GP race starts, drove superbly on the problematic Chinese track to cap his debut for Great Britain with a champagne soaking on the podium while lifting the team to third overall in the Nations Standings behind leaders Mexico and Germany.
The tight confines of the modified Jingkai track made passing virtually impossible, a fact quickly discovered by the 22 competing Nations as the Sprint race started, the grid based on results from Saturday's aborted practice session with Jarvis lining up eighth. The running order remained static with the exception of South Africa's Adrian Zaugg who clipped the wall allowing Jarvis to gain a place to move into seventh -- just one spot shy of a points score at the chequered. A1 Team Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen capitalized on his unexpected pole to win the Sprint with Mexico's Salvador Duran and Italy's Enrico Toccacelo completing the top-three at the finish.
The Feature race proved to be far more dramatic with Oliver, the 2005 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year, making a solid start from seventh. With the pit window opening on lap 20 the British team wasted little time in calling their rookie in from sixth and it proved to be a fortuitous decision. Two safety car periods in quick succession negated the advantage held by the leaders and handed control of proceedings to the early stoppers Holland, Germany, Italy and Great Britain.
As the front-runners pitted when their window of opportunity expired on lap 50 Jarvis ascended to fourth on track hooking up to the gearbox of Toccacelo in the third placed Italian entry. A mature approach to proceedings was later rewarded in the dying minutes of the race as Bleekemolen went off in the Dutch car and just a handful of turns later Germany's Nico Hulkenberg pitted with mechanical issues handing the lead to Italy with Great Britain right behind. Jarvis hung on to take second place behind Toccacelo at the chequered with Australia's Karl Reindler placing third.
"I'm really happy, more for the team than for myself," Jarvis remarked following his podium celebrations. "I always have high expectations; I want to win races so I came here to give it my all. Obviously with the lack of running I didn't have the track time I'd have liked but we set out our game plan today and came away with a good result. There was no pressure from the team other than to do my best and it's a fantastic feeling to get the team's best result of the season and our first podium."
"I thought Oliver drove a very sensible race in the Feature and basically justified the confidence we had as a team in running him," commented British Team Principal John Surtees. "He had extremely limited running here due to the issues with the circuit in the first two days, he lost a full hour of rookie practice on Friday but drove well in today's races. It was an extremely mature performance and as a result we're up to third in the Nations Standings and looking strong heading to Malaysia."
Round 4 of the 2006-07 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport takes place in two weeks time, Friday 24th -- Sunday 26th November, at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia -- www.a1gp.com