by Russell Atkins
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Experienced tin-top ace Jamie Green finally got that winning feeling in the DTM in 2007 after 30 starts in the fiercely competitive pan-European touring car series, and the timing – he believes – could just have saved his Mercedes-Benz factory career.
Having now developed a taste for the top step of the rostrum – with back-to-back victories in the final two meetings of the campaign – the 25-year-old is eyeing a title assault in 2008, underlining that second place is only the first of the losers…
Jamie, you had a fairly spectacular end to the 2007 DTM campaign. Before the final two races you'd said you wanted to win at least one of them, and you did even better than that…
Yeah, it was quite a surprise for everybody. I've been in the DTM for three years now, and in my third season I managed to win the last two races which was a great result. Obviously it was disappointing I hadn't achieved victories earlier, but it was a good end to the year and I think crucial to my career to hopefully hold onto my seat in the factory team. It was very important for me to get a win, and I think that puts me in good stead now for 2008.
How disappointing was the year up until then? You didn't get onto the podium even until the last two races…
No, but I had achieved everything but a win before; I had achieved fastest laps and podiums and pole positions, so podiums weren't really something that was on my mind – it was winning that was the main thing.
I've got all the attributes to win a championship, and this year should be a good year for me. It's just a question of everything coming together, being confident and being happy in what I'm doing. I was much happier at the end of the year, and I think that showed in my performance.
You had the qualifying speed in 2006 – when you set more pole positions than anyone else and had the best qualifying record in the series – and you beat all the other drivers in the races in the final two meetings of 2007. What are the chances of marrying the two together in 2008?
I think the chances are pretty good. I didn't get any pole positions in '07, but I did qualify as the top Mercedes at the last race in Hockenheim. It was only Audis in front of me, but they weren't so strong in the race.
The tyres were a little bit different in '07 compared to previous years, and that definitely didn't help me in qualifying where I struggled to really get the best out of them, but in race trim I was very quick. I know what I need to do in qualifying this year, and I think there's a good chance of me putting both together.