Oliver Jarvis has admitted that his maiden DTM season in 2008 has been 'much more difficult' than he had expected - as scintillating qualifying pace has failed to be converted into solid race day results.

Whilst the former single-seater star - who in 2006 finished as runner-up in the hotly-fought British F3 Championship, ahead of current GP2 Series title contender Bruno Senna, and popularly broke Great Britain's duck in the nation vs nation A1GP World Cup of Motorsport a year later - has four times qualified inside the top eight on the grid, with a highlight of a superb fourth in the second round at Oschersleben, he has finished inside the points only twice, at Mugello and the Eurospeedway Lausitz back in May at the wheel of his year-old Audi Sport Team Phoenix A4.

"I think it's been a good season," Jarvis insisted, speaking to Crash.net Radio. "I've certainly shown what I can do in qualifying, but the races haven't gone to plan. It's very difficult this year, much more difficult than I had anticipated.

"I would have loved a podium by now, but to be honest at the moment it's just not been possible with the older car. Even if we do a perfect job we're looking at P6 or P7, and we're relying on those in the new cars to make mistakes to really be able to fight for a podium.

"The '07 cars aren't on the pace of the '08 cars - even with the big difference in weight - and it's a big learning curve. It's hard to say [what the gap is] in terms of lap time, but there's certainly a big difference, in my opinion bigger than in years gone past.

"I'm enjoying myself, though, I'm certainly very happy to be involved in the DTM and I'm especially happy to be with Audi. Hopefully next year I'd love to get my hands on a new car, but if not then I'm looking forward to getting my hands on an '08 machine."

Jarvis' home meeting at Brands Hatch last weekend - though it started brightly with an impressive sixth position on the grid - ultimately ended in disappointment for the 24-year-old, as an error led to him slipping down the order to a lapped twelfth place at the chequered flag, dashing his hopes of getting in amongst the points-scorers in front of his partisan supporters. Looking ahead, he makes it clear he intends to make amends before the season is out.

"It was nothing like we'd planned or would plan," the former McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year confessed of his Brands outing. "We had a good first stint, but unfortunately we were a bit slow to pit and lost a couple of places in the pit-stops.

"That was very disappointing, and after that again we had the pace but it just wasn't to be. I made a small mistake trying to push Gary [Paffett] and damaged the car, and from then on I dropped back.

"The plan now is for three rounds where I score points in each round, and hopefully finish the year as the top '07 driver. Gary's got a three-point lead on me at the moment, but I'm going to keep pushing hard and hopefully I can close that gap."

Looking further ahead still, Jarvis recently admitted that he had not fully given up on his Formula 1 dream [see separate story - click here], but he insisted that in the absence of anyone from the top flight coming knocking, he is more than content to pursue his burgeoning tin-top career for now.

"At the moment I'm very happy where I am," he underlined. "I certainly haven't got the budget to go into GP2, but I'm in a very fortunate position - I'm with a great manufacturer in a great series.

"I'm enjoying myself, and I'd like to see a long-term future with Audi. If the opportunity arises to drive a Formula 1 car, of course I'm going to jump at the chance, but at the same time I'm very happy with what I'm doing."

by Russell Atkins

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