ALL TO PLAY FOR IN MEXICO FOR A1 TEAM GBR AND OLIVER JARVIS Mexico City, Mexico: In hot and sunny weather conditions, Oliver Jarvis for A1 Team Great Britain qualified in fifth position ahead of tomorrow's Sprint race and fourth for the Feature...
ALL TO PLAY FOR IN MEXICO FOR A1 TEAM GBR AND OLIVER JARVIS
Mexico City, Mexico: In hot and sunny weather conditions, Oliver Jarvis for A1 Team Great Britain qualified in fifth position ahead of tomorrow's Sprint race and fourth for the Feature race in Mexico City for round eight of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. After setting the standard in yesterday's practice, topping the afternoon session, Jarvis returned to the circuit this morning for one final hour of practice ahead of the afternoon's qualifying. The session was hampered by red flags throughout, which caused a 40-minute delay in the chequered flag but, at the end of the session, the times were incredibly close, preparing drivers for a nail-biting qualifying.
Oliver completed 31 laps of practice and used the session to fine-tune the car set-up ahead of qualifying and tomorrow's races. After initially topping the session, he set a fastest lap of 1:21.930 around the 4.08km circuit, putting him eighth fastest, 0.245 seconds behind session leader Italy.
In the first segment of qualifying for the Sprint race, Oliver headed out onto the track on new tyres, with three minutes remaining of the session, and set a lap time of 1:21.112, putting GBR in provisional seventh. The team left it even later in the second segment to try to take advantage of a cleaner track, leaving the pits with just two minutes to go, once again on fresh rubber. Oliver improved his time by over half a second, despite backing off after orders from the team following a yellow flag indicator on the data screens, recording a lap of 1:20.556. In a very competitive session, this moved GBR up to fifth, putting the British entry on the third row of the grid for tomorrow's Sprint, behind South Africa, New Zealand, USA and Switzerland.
Using the one set of old tyres for the first segment of the Feature race qualifying session, GBR once again waited until late on in the session to head out onto track. Oliver set a time of 1:21.188, which put the team in provisional sixth place. Back on new tyres, Oliver went out onto a very busy track for his final qualifying segment. He set his second best lap of the day with a time of 1:20.705, which moved him up to fourth on the grid. He will begin on the second row behind Canada, Switzerland and Germany.
Oliver Jarvis: "It's been quite a disappointing qualifying as we had good pace in yesterday's practice and we weren't too worried about being seventh fastest in this mornings' practice since we were very confident that come qualifying we would be quick. However, we struggled a bit in the first Sprint race qualifying, then the second Sprint race qualifying was better, but unfortunately we lost out as a yellow flag was shown on the screen and the team radioed, but when I arrived at the corner there wasn't an incident, which I think cost us a potential front row start. The first Feature race qualifying was okay on used tyres, and then the second Feature race qualifying was looking very good but I made a small mistake at the chicane, otherwise we could have been third behind Canada and Switzerland who were both on the pace."
Katie Clements, Team Principal: "After our practice performance, we had hoped for a better qualifying position. We will begin fifth in the Sprint and fourth in the Feature. However, Oliver performed very well here last year and there is everything to play for tomorrow. Several teams have shown today their strength on this circuit but we have the pace and the talent in the team and Oliver, who is a proven race winner on this circuit, so it will be our job tomorrow to show just how strong we can be."
Sunday's 20-minute Sprint race begins at 1100 local time (Sunday 0900 GMT) and the 70-minute Feature race starts at 1500 local time (1300 GMT).
Sky Sports will broadcast all the live action from Mexico City from 8pm on Sunday 16 March on Sky Sports 3.