DTM » 22 January 2009
Green `confident` of title push in 2009.
Jamie Green enjoyed what was inarguably his finest campaign to-date in the DTM in 2008, triumphing twice en route to fourth spot in the final drivers' standings, but he is still not satisfied, he insists – and won't be until he lifts the crown.
The season was the former McLaren/Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year and F3 Euroseries Champion's fourth in the pan-European touring car series, and having claimed his breakthrough victories with back-to-back successes in the final meetings of 2007 at Barcelona and Hockenheim, Green headed into 2008 in positive spirits – and he delivered.
Not only did he return to the top step of the podium at Mugello and the Norisring – the latter a particularly satisfying result, he affirms – but there were points in every outing bar one, and a further brace of rostrums at the Nürburgring, from all the way down in 13th on the grid, and in the Hockenheim finale. What's more, he finally seemed to overcome the barrier that has in the past seen him labelled as a great qualifier but not-so-great racer, finishing six races higher than he had started them.
“I've always had a lot of pace over one lap,” the 26-year-old acknowledged, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio, “but now I've really got my racecraft together too and I understand how to be quick over the whole distance. That's what you need to do to score points – we don't get any points for pole position – so I'm very happy with that progress.
“It was a good year in general. I was in the running to win the championship right the way through to probably three races from the end of the season, so up until then it was going very well, and I managed to win two races. Only Timo Scheider won more than two races – he won three by the end of the season – so it was a strong year for me, but fourth place in the championship doesn't really reflect that.
“My win at the Norisring was very nice, because I'd had a bad race there a couple of years ago when I should have won, and Mugello was a really comfortable win for me – I had a lot of pace there. They were both very enjoyable.”
Green also admits that Audi's initial narrow advantage over Mercedes-Benz in the early stages of the campaign was probably key to the ultimate destiny of the laurels, but he has promised that the Stuttgart manufacturer will come out fighting in 2009 – and determined to regain a title that it last held back in 2006.
“At the beginning of the season they were very strong,” the Leicestershire ace confessed of Audi's form, “[but] from the middle to the end of the year I think we made a lot of progress and gave them a good run to the end of the season, and Paul [di Resta – team-mate] obviously had a chance of winning the championship going into the last race.
“It was pretty tight overall, but I think we'll definitely be looking to start the championship stronger this year. The team work really hard every year and build a new car every year – or five new cars in total – and obviously they're working hard to build the best car they can so we can win the championship this year.
“I've got a lot of confidence in the team; they've got a lot of experience and have won a lot of championships over the years, and I'm sure they're very hungry to win the championship this year. I've got a lot of confidence in both myself and the team. I'm looking to improve on fourth place this year and go for the championship.”
by Russell Atkins
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