Reflecting on a real rollercoaster ride in the 2007/08 A1GP season finale on home turf at Brands Hatch at the weekend, Robbie Kerr admitted he was disappointed to have once more just missed out on securing the runner-up spot for Great Britain in the nations' title chase - but vowed to make amends once the new campaign comes around again in September.

Having paced practice, the High Wycombe ace - a World Cup of Motorsport regular since day one, and a man with no fewer than three victories and 18 rostrum finishes under his belt from 46 starts - went on to set pole position for the sprint race and second on the grid for the longer feature. Entering the meeting twelve points adrift of third-placed France in the standings and 22 behind New Zealand, much was at stake, but a beautifully composed performance in the sprint saw Kerr get Team GBR's assault off to the perfect start.

"It was all about just keeping it under control, making sure I didn't make any mistakes and keeping the guys behind," he explained afterwards, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio. "We know it's difficult to overtake, so it was just about keeping the pace constant and keeping them there behind us, and that was something we could do fairly easily."

Having prevailed by just over a second ahead of the USA's Jonathan Summerton and Irishman Adam Carroll, the former British F3 Champion knew his country's hopes of leapfrogging its two rivals in the title chase has been considerably boosted - particularly in light of New Zealand notching up just three points and France only one. A similar result in the feature race, and the runner-up spot would be secured. After taking the lead following the first pit-stops, a double glory looked to be on the cards, but a small delay during the second stop on lap 33 was enough to let India's Narain Karthikeyan regain his earlier lead - and with it dash Britain's chances of stealing P2 in the championship chase at the last.

"It was very tight," Kerr reflected of a fraught opening lap in the feature. "We all got really good starts and were pressing each other. I had to have a go at Narain, but unfortunately he ran me out wide and that allowed Adam to have a go at me. It was good, close racing and we enjoyed it. I think everyone in the crowd must have enjoyed it as well.

"I could tell from the pace in the first stint that we [him and Karthikeyan] were both very equal. We had a little bit of an issue with the rear tyres, but we could control the pace after the first stop and even pull away a bit, so we were fairly happy coming into the pits for the second time, but then it just comes down to the pit-stop...

"Unfortunately it didn't quite go our way there, but that's just one of those things. Motor racing is really close, and it was just those crucial couple of tenths that cost us. We had our nose just equal with Narain as we were exiting the pit-lane, but of course the rules state we have to drop in exactly behind them, which meant we had to settle for second place from that point on because Narain and myself were just so close on times.

"I would be close to him, be in the dirty air and then drop back; unfortunately, unlike last year I couldn't run as closely in the dirty air. The gap was a second the whole time - it closed a bit when Narain made a mistake - but then unfortunately we were in the dirty air and of course we dropped back a little bit again."

With Kerr failing in his quest to make it two wins out of two by just over a second in the final reckoning, Jonny Reid's second successive eighth place aboard Black Beauty was narrowly enough to safeguard the Kiwis' runner-up spot in the rankings, a sole point clear of Great Britain in a carbon copy repeat of 2006/07, when the latter was similarly agonisingly defeated in the Brands feature race - then by champions Germany.

Franck Montagny failing to better fifth position for series one title-winners France at least saw Britain overtake les bleus for third spot - for the third consecutive year - but Kerr admitted afterwards that was only a very small consolation.

"It's gutting, it really is," the 28-year-old acknowledged, still managing to maintain the smile on his face, "but we live to fight another day. I wanted to go for the win, but of course we had to consolidate third place [in the standings'] as well.

"It was almost there, but it was still a fantastic day at Brands Hatch to have a win in the sprint race and lead the feature race. It was a great result to end the year on, and we've just got to focus now and re-group for next year. I'm sure the guys are going to be just as eager as I am to get going again and get a fantastic result in the first race."

As to whether Kerr himself will be a part of that first race, he refused to commit, and in the meantime it looks likely that he will be continuing to compete for Creation in the Le Mans Series over the summer months - even if he confessed that his heart would always remain in single-seaters.

"Let's wait and see," he insisted of his A1GP future. "We've got lots of discussions ahead of us, so we'll see what happens from here.

"I've been doing some sportscar racing, and that looks like it will carry on for the rest of the year. I've been really enjoying it and it's been good experience, but of course I still love racing single-seaters."

 

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