A1GP: Team GB put on notice by Dutch

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarFriday, November 9th, 2007

 
 

Oliver Jarvis has been put on notice for the Malaysian A1GP weekend – don’t expect to be in third place by the time the races are over, because the Dutch are coming to get you!

Team GB are currently joint third in the standings with A1 Team Netherlands. However Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen believes that won’t last long, as his outfit is in better shape than ever.

He told the series’ official site that he expects his team’s improved form to continue in Malaysia which is due to host races at Sepang on the weekend of November 24/5.

So Jarvis, who has been chosen to drive in this race after successes by Kerr in Malaysia over the last two visits, may have his work cut out to keep ahead.

Whereas the Brits are continuing a long run of form with their third-place slot, behind perennial winners New Zealand and South Africa, Team Netherlands has seen a much better start to its 2007/08 season.

However Team GB principal Katie Clements believes Jarvis, the less experienced of the two British drivers, is more than up to the job of holding off Bleekemolen.

She said: “With Robbie and Olly we’ve the luxury of having two extremely fast and motivated drivers on the team. Both have done very well for us in the opening rounds. The downside of this is we have to choose between them and it is never an easy decision.

“While Robbie has scored podiums for us in Malaysia in both season one and two, we thought that Olly deserved the opportunity to show what he can do round the Sepang circuit.”

At this stage in 2006/07, the Netherlands was eighth in the championship.

But two podium finishes in two events has already propelled Bleekemolen and his rookie team-mate Arie Luyendijk Jr towards the top of the standings.

Bleekemolen said: “It will all be down to consistency in the end — and it seems we should be consistent this year.

“At the end of last year we were pretty much on the pace and this year we have started taking more podium finishes. We are quick enough and are really challenging for the title, which is what we have got to fight for.

“We’ve had two podiums and the other two races we had points, so it is a good start — although it is disappointing because from those other two we deserved a bit more.”

Last year was not a good race for the team in Malaysia. But Bleekemolen believes this year will be very different.

“Last year we were really struggling in Sepang — but we were struggling even more in Brno and look what we did there this year, with the pole position and the podium.

“We have changed so much more of the set-up of the car for this that we know we should have a good set-up in Malaysia, the whole team has got a lot better.”

There you go, Olly. You know what you need to do…

The Sepang circuit is approximately three and a half miles long, approached clockwise by drivers and incorporating 15 turns.

The current A1GP lap record was set by New Zealand’s Jonny Reid a year ago and stands at 1m 53:343.

It is is the widest circuit on the A1GP calendar, which should make for plenty of overtaking action and it has provided thrilling races in the past.

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