Robbie Kerr has vowed to give it his all when the A1GP circus arrives on British turf for its 2007/08 season finale at the beginning of next month, despite enduring a weekend to forget last time out in Shanghai.

The former British F3 Champion has a superb record around the Kent circuit, having triumphed there in the sprint race last year - his maiden World Cup of Motorsport success - and finished second in the feature outing, and having led on his A1GP debut 19 months earlier still. Whilst he suffered a difficult weekend in China - featuring on the outer edges of the top ten throughout, a far cry form Team GB's early and mid-season form - France's even more lowly performance means the outfit has closed the gap on the third-placed series one title-winners to just twelve points - with 32 remaining up for grabs.

After qualifying in tenth spot for the sprint race, Kerr swiftly moved up to seventh when the lights went out - successfully avoiding the start-line collision between New Zealand and the USA - but he would fall back two spots to ninth after coming off worst in a three-abreast battle into turn two with Italy and South Africa. He then remained in the same position to the chequered flag, sandwiched frustratingly between Italy and home nation China.

"We had a good start initially and I thought I was going to get Germany," the 28-year-old recounted, "but then the incident happened in front and I had to back off allowing Germany to come back at us. Going into turn one, I got bogged down by Germany which allowed Italy and South Africa to come either side boxing me in.

"I did the sensible thing and backed off rather than risk an accident, and from then on chased Italy, but unfortunately wasn't able to get close enough to mount a decent challenge [as] we struggled with the car's handling throughout the race."

Beginning the longer feature event two places higher in eighth, Kerr slipped back a position behind France following the first of his two mandatory pit-stops - with rookie driver Duncan Tappy on-hand to help out on front jack duties. Under pressure from Germany behind, the High Wycombe ace attempted to get by Franck Montagny in the French entry on lap 17, but the move was unsuccessful and once more he crossed the line a low-key ninth.

"It was a tough race as we were in the mix throughout," he stated afterwards. "We had a reasonable start but couldn't quite make the most of it. Our first pit-stop was really good, but unfortunately India in the pit box in front blocked us on the way out and cost us a position to France. From that point on we had the pace to attack France in front, but of course with Germany right behind I had to defend hard too.

"We had another good stop but got caught on the exit as South Africa came in. It's been a challenging weekend, but we've come away with some points and still have a fighting chance of getting third in the championship - or possibly second if New Zealand have an unlikely bad weekend - with a strong performance at Brands Hatch."

The squad is well aware that in order to achieve that objective - and thereby match its accomplishment in both the 2005/06 and 2006/07 campaigns - a good deal more than four points will need to be registered on home soil, but team principal Katie Clements is confident that a similar showing to that which Kerr has produced at Brands on each of the championship's previous two visits there is far from out of the question.

"This has obviously been a disappointing weekend for us," she affirmed. "Although we scored some points, we are used to scoring much higher, and we had a very good chance to gain good ground on France for third place in the championship.

"It was one of those weekends you can have in racing where it just didn't come together for us. We are now firmly focused on our home race at Brands Hatch in three weeks, and we have not changed our objective of a top three championship finish."

 

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