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MARCH 25, 2001

Irvine hopes for turn of fortune in Brazil

EDDIE IRVINE and his Jaguar team-mate Luciano Burti have not got the best records at the Brazilian track, Interlagos - but they will both be looking to put their records behind them as they head for the Brazilian Grand Prix this week.

In seven starts Eddie Irvine's best finish at the Interlagos circuit was a sixth place in 1999 while Luciano Burti has only ever experienced the Brazilian track once.

But Jaguar's quest for reliability has so far been on target with both cars finishing the season opener in Australia and Burti bringing his car home at the last round in Malaysia, something that has delighted team boss Bobby Rahal.

He said: "I'm reasonably pleased with the progress we are making so far this season, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us.

"We have just finished a three day test in Barcelona with all three drivers and I'm pleased with what we addressed and achieved."

Interlagos is not a favorite track of Irvine's but will be hoping that the team reliability factor will again serve them well.

"My track record in Brazil isn't brilliant," said Irvine. "The Interlagos circuit is very demanding. Physically it is tough, partly because of the fact it is left-handed and also because the road is very bumpy.

"I hear they have resurfaced a lot of it since last year, but I'm not holding my breath, because the last time they did that, it seemed to make it worse.

"We tried a few new aerodynamic modifications in testing at Barcelona and hopefully these might up our general performance level in Brazil."

Burti, who has been tipped to be replaced by Pedro de la Rosa at the end of the season, is anticipating a busy weekend on and off the track in Brazil.

Burti said: "In addition to my race duties, I am also anticipating a very busy weekend off the track with the media speculation concerning my future with Jaguar Racing. This is yet another example of media speculation gone wild.

Rahal, who has refused to comment about next seasons, and the immediate driver line-up, has again refused to discuss the speculation.

"With regards to recent media speculation about the immediate future of Luciano, I can only reiterate my words from Malaysia in that Eddie and Luciano are our drivers.