New A1 Team South Africa boss Mike Carroll reckons his team will break into the top five during the third season of the World Cup of Motorsport - providing his squad can find a '0.2 per cent improvement' in pace relative to the opposition.

Carroll was announced this week as the new general manager of the team, replacing the outgoing Dana Cooper and he has already he has set what he terms a 'realistic' target of a top five finish for 2007/08.

"If you consider the guy on pole to be at 100 per cent pace, then South Africa made exactly a one per cent gain between the first two seasons of A1GP," he said. "So, if the pole qualifier took 100 seconds to complete the lap, we improved by one second relative to them between seasons.

"'For 2007/08 we will be looking to improve again. If you analyse all the nations, there are about seven countries within 0.3 per cent of each other and we were at the back end of that tight group. If we move forward by 0.2 of a per cent then we would move in to the top five countries."

However Carroll, who has been promoted from team manager to the head position, urged a note of caution and echoed A1 Team Brazil boss Emerson Fittipaldi's recent comments that teams next season will be even more tightly bunched in terms of pace.

"At the same time before the start of the season every team interviewed is really optimistic about their chances and everyone is aiming to move up," he said. "I'm under no illusions here. The whole field is going to move forward next season and there is no reason to suspect that other people in our tight group, such as Malaysia, USA, Netherlands, Canada and China, aren't also going to move forward. But if we just move forward a little bit more than they do there is opportunity to get into the top five territory. That is a realistic target.'

"Every individual on the team, all the engineers and mechanical staff, everyone is going to have to narrow their own performance and get closer to their optimum."

South Africa finished 14th in the standings last season.

 

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