It was business more or less as usual for Jaguar Racing in Brazil. Having qualified 12th in the first two races Eddie Irvine followed up with 13th at Interlagos, having been bumped down by the BAR of Jacques Villeneuve in the closing minutes of...
It was business more or less as usual for Jaguar Racing in Brazil. Having qualified 12th in the first two races Eddie Irvine followed up with 13th at Interlagos, having been bumped down by the BAR of Jacques Villeneuve in the closing minutes of the session. Team-mate Luciano Burti was right behind him. "It's probably pretty much as we expected, around 12th or 13th," said team boss Bobby Rahal.
"I think we're actually closer in qualifying this week to the group, the BARs and the Jordans -- we're half a second off the Jordans, and that's our target. Naturally we want to be up higher, no question, but it's pretty much where we thought we would be. In fact maybe we closed that gap just a tiny bit."
Bobby was pleased to see Luciano enjoy a trouble free day and post his grid position of the season on his home track. He was second of the four Brazilians in the field. "Luciano made a good improvement today. It was his best qualifying and he was close to Eddie.
"Last race he was 15th, but he was about a second off Eddie. This time he's within a tenth or so, so he's done a good job. We just need to get the car better for the guys, but half a second makes a helluva difference."
Eddie has the honour of being third quickest Michelin runner, but he is still a long way behind Ralf Schumacher, who managed to put his Williams on the front row, next to his brother. That could be perceived either as good news -- the Michelins are competitive -- or bad news -- Jaguar is still well behind the 'benchmark' team on the same tyres.
Rahal looks on it with a positive light. "It's good news. They've got their car working very well. Let's face it Montoya and Schumacher are all over the track to do it, but they're doing it, and obviously the BMW is a very good motor."
Bobby says he's not too concerned about the pace of the Williams pair. "That's not our competition. I've said that all along, that Williams is not our competition. Our competition is BAR, Jordan I suppose, and Benetton. Clearly we're ahead of Benetton, and we're close to BAR, and obviously Sauber is right there. We're in our group, we just need to be at the front of out group rather than third or fourth in it."