QUAIFE-HOBBS ALMOST TAKES PODIUM ON FORMULA BMW DEBUT Tonbridge teenager Adrian Quaife-Hobbs eased his way into the Formula BMW UK Championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend (March 31-April 1), by almost taking a podium result in the second...
QUAIFE-HOBBS ALMOST TAKES PODIUM ON FORMULA BMW DEBUT
Tonbridge teenager Adrian Quaife-Hobbs eased his way into the Formula BMW UK Championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend (March 31-April 1), by almost taking a podium result in the second race on Sunday afternoon at the Kent venue.
At the start of the weekend the Sackville School pupil struggled in the opening qualifying session, where damp conditions meant he found it hard to find grip. By the time he managed to set his best lap, right at the end of the 25-minute period he had set the tenth fastest time.
A change of car set-up for the second session meant that he was able to attack slightly quicker, but once again set his best time on his last lap, this time in ninth place.
"I didn't get the best out of my tyres in the qualifying sessions," said Adrian. "The track was slightly damp at the start of the first session and everyone was taking it easy to begin with. I altered the set-up on the car between the two to give me more grip but it was still on the last lap that I got my best time in," he added.
For his first Formula BMW race Adrian made the plan to bring the car across the line in one piece and claim a finish on his debut. A good start allowed him to make up one place as the lights went green. However, as the pack surged into the Druids hairpin he left himself and his rival's room to make sure that his first event didn't end prematurely, although he lost a couple of places in the process.
A three-car battle over the second half of the race allowed him to get back into the feel of close racing for the first time this season. But he was unable to make up any places due to suffering from understeer in the closing laps, ending the race in 11th place.
"I'd decided that I just wanted to go out and get a finish in the first race," he said. "It was a great three-way fight in the second half of the race, but my tyres were past their best by then and I had really bad understeer whenever I got in the draft of Jonathan Legris in front of me."
"He made a mistake on one lap but was able to shut the door on me before I could make a move," he added.
In the second race Adrian was able to get back to his more aggressive style right from the start, making up two places before the pack had made it around Druids for the first time.
After a handful of laps he was able to pass Finnish racer Valle Makela for third place and held the final podium position for the majority of the race. Unfortunately, Adrian had set up his car to work its tyres hard in the opening half of the race and he once again struggled for grip in the closing stages of the 24-lap sprint and had to concede the place back and settle for fourth place at the chequered flag.
"I'm pleased to have run so well in the second race," he said. "I made some changes to the car between the races and knew that I would be able to push harder from the start, but it meant that I had no grip left at the end. It was a good, solid point's finish though, which will be important at the end of the season," he added.
Adrian now has a three week break before the next rounds of the championship, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on the weekend of April 21/22, where he aims to go for victory.
"I know that I need to concentrate on qualifying so that I have a better chance to be first into the first corner," he said. "I've proved that I can run at the front in the races, I just need to give myself a better chance of going for victory, which will start at Rockingham," he added.