Irvine cautiously upbeat for Jaguar at Imola

JAGUAR team leader Eddie Irvine is cautiously optimistic that the team may show a perceptible upsurge in performance for this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. Recent testing at Jerez saw the team evaluate some new aerodynamic components which the Ulsterman hopes will translate into a worthwhile handling improvement for the fourth round of the World Championship.

"In last week's test at Jerez, I did a lot of tire testing with encouraging results and those new aerodynamic bits improved the front end stability," he admitted. "On a track that often sees a high retirement rate, the fact that the R2 is a reliable old girl might pay off for us.

"In the old days Imola used to be hard on fuel consumption, but that's no longer a problem. Instead, the brakes, gearbox and transmission can take a pounding. It's an anti-clockwise track, but we should be used to that after Brazil. There are not too many places to overtake, so a good start is essential. On the strategy side, I guess it should be a two-stopper. It usually is and with tire wear a more important factor this year, a one stop (schedule) seems unlikely, although we won't know until we get there."

Chief Executive Officer Bobby Rahal added; "The Jaguar R2's reliability is getting ever better and we should have capitalized on some points at the last race. Eddie's drive up to sixth place (at Interlagos, before he spun off) highlighted the potential we have and I'm pleased by the progress we are making to the package."

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