Looking back over his maiden DTM campaign in 2008, Olly Jarvis has reflected that it turned out to be tougher than he had at first anticipated – as he revealed his hopes of stepping up to more competitive machinery in a year's time.
Behind the wheel of a 2007-spec Audi A4, the former McLaren/Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year
impressed by qualifying an excellent eighth on his debut at Hockenheim and an even better fourth just a week later at Oschersleben.
Even more encouragingly still, a brilliant fifth place on race day at Mugello in Italy seemed to herald the arrival of a new superstar in the fiercely-competitive pan-European touring car series, but as the development of the 2008 machines accelerated, Jarvis and co found themselves increasingly cast into a supporting role as the year progressed. Just two more appearances in the final stage of qualifying would follow over the balance of the campaign – and no points beyond May.
“I think it was a good year overall,” mused the 24-year-old erstwhile single-seater star, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio
“It was a tough year, that's for sure, in a year-old car which was maybe a bigger difference than in previous years, but I came out of it with some points and I think I proved that I can be fast.
“In the first four or five races I think we were in with a chance of making the top eight, but towards the end of the year you could see that sometimes the difference between eighth and ninth was five or six tenths.
“Actually, for myself I think the adjustment was much bigger in the races than in qualifying. With new tyres on the car drives very much like a single-seater, but in the races with the heavy fuel loads and the old tyres it's a much more different beast to drive.”
Though he concedes that his chances of getting his hands on an up-to-date model next season are slim, Jarvis does make clear that his future is pledged to both the DTM and Audi for the near future – with possibly the odd A1GP outing thrown in for good measure along the way as and when his tin-top schedule allows.
“It's looking unlikely, I have to be honest,” the former British F3 Vice-Champion confessed of his hopes of a 2009-spec car next year, “but until they definitely say no I'm going to keep pushing. I'm hopeful that if there isn't the possibility for 2009, then certainly for 2010.
“I'd definitely like to stay with Audi; I think they're a great manufacturer, there's a great team atmosphere and I've enjoyed the year with them so hopefully I can stay there for many years to come.
“There's always a possibility [of returning to A1GP]. I'm in talks with them all the time. It's just a case of fitting it in around my Audi commitments, but we'll have to wait and see.”
by Russell Atkins