QUAIFE-HOBBS STUNS IN EUROCUP FORMULA RENAULT BRDC Rising Star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs stunned on his Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 debut on Saturday battling for fifth place in the opening round of the series at Spa-Francorchamps. The 17 year-old...
QUAIFE-HOBBS STUNS IN EUROCUP FORMULA RENAULT
BRDC Rising Star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs stunned on his Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 debut on Saturday battling for fifth place in the opening round of the series at Spa-Francorchamps. The 17 year-old from Tonbridge, Kent, once again started the weekend off in superb form, posting the fifth quickest time in testing and the fastest of the BVM Minardi squad.
A huge grid of 48 cars arrived at the fabulous Belgian track high in the Ardennes mountains for the opening race of the series. This meant that the entry would be split into two qualifying sessions of 24 cars determined by odd and even race numbers. >From that the fastest 14 from each group would go into a Super Pole session in which the drivers' two quickest laps would determine the first 28 cars on the grid for the two races. The remaining cars would make up the back of the grid for each race.
A sterling performance by the youngster had him third quickest in his qualifying session, easily putting him into the Super Pole shoot-out and in those two sessions, against the best drivers in the series, posted the 10th and eighth fastest times.
"I didn't really use the tyres properly," said Adrian. "The more experienced drivers know exactly when to go for a quick lap, and on these tyres should be on around the second quickest lap. I went for a time on my sixth quickest time, but I'll know for next time."
The former double T-Cars champion competed in just a handful of Formula Renault races last season and has shown tremendous form in testing against far more experienced drivers. In Saturday's opening race, the Sackville School pupil made a great start to hold position and was soon up into a three-way battle for fifth place with Michele Faccin and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Unfortunately his challenge for a podium spot finished on lap five when a collision with another car lost his front wing and bent the trackrod, which forced him into the pits and retirement.
"I made a really good start and was up to eighth and all over the back of Vergne. He missed a gear and I had nowhere to go and ran into the back of him. I lost the front wing and bent the trackrod so there was no chance to continue."
In the second race Adrian started from the fourth row and another good start allowed him to hold position off the line. Exiting Eau Rouge for the first time, Adrian went for the outside of his team mate Zampieri which would give him the inside line for the next corner.
Ahead two cars collided and went off the track, rejoining immediately in front of Adrian. In an attempt to avoid a collision, Adrian was forced onto the gravel which subsequently got into the engine, signalling the end of his race.
"I really had hoped for a good second race. I'd made a good start and was looking to move up the order when two cars touched ahead. They went off the track and then came back right in front of me and again, I had to take avoiding action or it would have been me out too.
"Unfortunately I had to take to the gravel to avoid it and sadly gravel got into the engine and it let go. It was all very unlucky really, hopefully that will be the last of it and I can get some better luck next time out."
The teenager now has just under a week off prior to his next race, the second round of the Italian Formula Renault Championship this coming weekend at the Hungaroring. Adrian's next race in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship will take place at his only 'home' round, at Silverstone over the weekend of 6-8 June.