F1 chief hopes heavens open in Germany

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MARUSSIA Virgin Racing are praying for rain this weekend as the Formula One backmarkers target a shock result at the German Grand Prix.

In dry conditions, the Dinnington-based outfit have struggled throughout 2011 to create downforce and generate pace in their MRV-02 cars.

But, on home soil 10 days ago, Virgin recorded a two-car finish at a wet Silverstone, with drivers Timo Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio crossing the line in 16th and 17th position respectively.

Graeme Lowdon, the president of Marussia Virgin Racing, told The Star: “The aim is to be the best of the teams who qualify in and around us and that is Team Lotus and Hispania so we want to finish the best of that pack. We will do the best that we can and make sure that we don’t make any mistakes. If we could repeat the performance that we produced at Silverstone, that would be absolutely fine. If a few cars have trouble, then we want to be in a position to take advantage of that.

“If the conditions are challenging, then I would certainly back our drivers to do really well in a situation where the weather is variable.”

Lowdon added: “We have to maximise the package that we have got and that is what we measure ourselves on at the moment.”

Although Virgin have rectified the reliability deficiencies which blighted their first year on track, the team remain three to four seconds off reaching the second session of qualifying on Saturday’s.

The slow progress has prompted Virgin to focus their resources on making next year’s car more competitive as the team bid to edge closer to the midfield runners.

Glock is confident Virgin will make giant strides next year.

“I know it sounds ambitious, but we are already planning to be in the midfield in 2012,” said the former Toyota driver, who is expected to stay with the F1 minnows for a third successive year.

“Then if possible we’ll fight at eye-level with Toro Rosso, Force India and company. It won’t be easy but I’m optimistic.”