QUAIFE-HOBBS WINS AT MUGELLO BRDC Rising Star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took a stunning maiden victory in the weekend's opening Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup race at Mugello this weekend. The 17 year-old rookie finished fourth in the...
QUAIFE-HOBBS WINS AT MUGELLO
BRDC Rising Star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs took a stunning maiden victory in the weekend's opening Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup race at Mugello this weekend. The 17 year-old rookie finished fourth in the second, which was interrupted by two safety-car periods, to move into third place in the championship.
The Tonbridge teenager, who was running a new car for the weekend following his accident last time out started the weekend in good form. Using most of the first session to acclimatise to the new BVM Minardi chassis, Adrian wound up ninth overall on his first run and seventh in the second.
In the wet qualifying session, his first at the Italian track, much of the time was spent finding a good set-up for the conditions. When the rain stopped, Adrian set about going for a time but three laps from home, a slower car ahead refused to let him pass.
Despite just one flying lap at the finish, and with the track conditions beginning to improve, Adrian pulled out all the stops and recorded the second quickest time, to give him a front row start for race one. However, due to the delay, his second quickest time was good enough only for row two for Sunday's race.
"I lost three laps towards the end of that session and that definitely cost me a front row start for the second race," said Adrian. "Had I been able to complete three uninterrupted laps, I could possibly have gone even quicker and put it on pole for both."
In race one Adrian drove a faultless race, taking the advantage at the start to lead pole-man Michele Faccin into the first corner. Over the opening lap, Adrian extended his lead to over a second and a half but on the fourth lap, the experienced Faccin slipstreamed his way past demoting Adrian to second.
Adrian wisely didn't fight back, electing to sit behind the race leader as they attempted to eke out a lead over the third place battle. On the next lap with Adrian running close behind the leader, Faccin ran wide over the kerbs and into the gravel, blistering his tyres and dropping him to third.
This allowed the second place car of Daniel Mancinelli to close up on Adrian, who forced a way through and into the lead which he held to the flag. However post race scrutineering found the car of Mancinelli to be underweight and he was excluded from the results, earning Adrian a well-deserved maiden win.
"I'm not surprised he was found to be underweight as he drove past me as though I was standing still. Just his straightline speed in itself was amazing so I'm really pleased to find out that it was purely because of that that he was able to pass me so easily."
Race two had Adrian line up on the second row for what turned out to be a non-event. Half an hour before the race started, the rain fell and due to the treacherous conditions, it was started under the safety car which stayed on track for the first ten minutes.
At the restart a mid-pack crash claimed several cars and forced the organisers to once again deploy the safety car. When the race resumed, there were just three racing laps, not enough for anyone to make any moves, leaving Adrian to finish fourth but just behind the final podium position.
"To be honest race two wasn't really a race. Where you started was where you finished as there just wasn't any time or laps in which to overtake. I did try a move on Zampieri but it would have been a do or die manoeuvre and the championship is too important to risk that.
"Overall, I'm really happy with the weekend. My engineer Peter Sieber has done a fantastic job and to get my first win in single-seaters is brilliant. I'm now third in the championship and I still have a mathematical chance of winning. But even if I don't, third in a championship as closely contested as this, in my first year in European competition is great."
Adrian will be back in action in the next rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at the fabulous Estoril circuit in Portugal over the weekend of 27 and 28 September.