Oliver Jarvis continued his impressive pre-season form in qualifying for the first round of the 2008 DTM campaign at Hockenheim this weekend, by becoming the only driver in older-spec machinery to make it through to the final knock-out session.
The 24-year-old Briton ultimately ended up eighth on the grid, just over a second shy of pole-sitter Timo Scheider and a similar margin under
the lap record. What's more, in doing so he out-paced five-time former champion Bernd Schneider – and is now looking to convert that pace and potential into points on race day.
“I'm absolutely delighted with my qualifying performance,” the Audi Sport Team Phoenix rookie enthused, “and hopefully I can go on and have a strong race.
“I was the only driver of a 2007 model to make it through to the third and final part of qualifying which, considering my lack of testing in the Audi combined with lack of experience here at Hockenheim, is very encouraging.
“It was really pretty tough! I could hardly believe how quickly the various sections were over. The qualifying format is very demanding – you've got to constantly drive at the limit and can be pleased if you manage two trials in one session.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich was similarly pleased with his young charge's efforts.
“Oliver, who is new to the unique atmosphere of the DTM, new to Audi and new to Hockenheim, did an outstanding job in qualifying,” the German praised. “You cannot over-emphasise that – in his first DTM qualifying of his career he finished among the top eight. He can rightfully be proud of this."
For fellow Brits Paul di Resta, Jamie Green, Gary Paffett, Susie Stoddart and Katherine Legge, meanwhile, there were rather more mixed fortunes, with the former pairing easily making the top six on the grid but Paffett only just scraping into the top ten behind Schneider. There was worse luck still for Stoddart, the Scot forced to pay the price for a practice fire on Friday and mistake in Q1 that saw her go off the track and into the tyre barrier at the first corner whilst looking good to make it through into the second phase of qualifying for only the fourth time in her DTM career.
“Fourth on the grid is not too bad,” said a not entirely satisfied di Resta, nevertheless the second highest-placed Mercedes alongside AMG team-mate Bruno Spengler. “I tried to get the maximum out of the car, but I was not able to do better. In the race I want more.”
“Not an optimum qualifying,” reflected sixth-placed Green, who triumphed in the last race to be held at Hockenheim back in October. “I had expected a better grid position. However, already in free practice we had problems in finding the best set-up. I will give it my all in the race to improve.”