Friday February 9th, 2001
Jaguar Racing top man Bobby Rahal thinks a good start to the season could see his team finish third in the championship.
After a shaky first season in 2000, Rahal believes they are over the problems that dogged them last year, and that backroom staff changes will bring success.
He has set drivers Eddie Irvine and Luciano Burti the task of finishing behind Ferrari and McLaren in the constructors' championship ahead of the likes of Jordan, BAR, Benetton and BMW-Williams and said it could happen if they finish the season-opening Australian and Malaysian races.
"We've put a lot of miles on the car," Rahal said. "We've concentrated on testing the new Michelin tyres and we've been troubleshooting the car.
"We want to finish third, that's the hope. But we are going to focus on our own job and not be distracted by others. If we can finish the first couple of races and get experience of the tyres we will do well."
Rahal added that Briton Irvine's crash in testing at Valencia in January, his first run in the R2, which prompted the car to be sent back to headquarters for repairs, has not hindered the team significantly in their preparations.
"Eddie's crash was no big deal," he said. "It may have been a big deal at the time for him but in all honesty it has not caused us a problem at all apart from the repairs."