OPTIMISTIC 2008 FINISH FOR QUAIFE-HOBBS Tonbridge driver Adrian Quaife-Hobbs brought his 2008 season to a close with a weekend of mixed results in Barcelona this weekend. The 17 year-old, in only his first full season in Formula Renault, was...
OPTIMISTIC 2008 FINISH FOR QUAIFE-HOBBS
Tonbridge driver Adrian Quaife-Hobbs brought his 2008 season to a close with a weekend of mixed results in Barcelona this weekend. The 17 year-old, in only his first full season in Formula Renault, was forced out of the first race while lying second but went on to finish his year with another solid finish in race two.
The Sackville School pupil was quickly on the pace in the wet qualifying session at the Spanish track, posting the sixth quickest time to comfortably go through to the superpole shootout which would determine the overall grid for race one.
With no changes made to his car before the crucial session Adrian took to the track hoping for a return to the front of the grid as he looked for a second Formula Renault victory in his debut year. He and the opposition ventured out onto the damp track, on which just two corners had a dry line, with a view to pitting for dry weather slick tyres when it had dried sufficiently.
However four laps in, the rain returned ensuring only the opening laps of the session counted for the two grids. Despite limited laps, Adrian posted the fifth quickest time in the session, the first non SG Formula runner, to give him a third row start for race one, and ninth for race two.
Race one was started on a wet track and a great start by Adrian allowed him to run into the corner side by side with pole-sitter Daniel Ricciardo with Jean-Eric Vergne in the lead. As the trio entered the first corner, Vergne ahead braked early leaving Adrian nowhere to go and he ran into the back of the slower car, spinning Adrian off and into retirement.
Following the race, Adrian was penalised by four grid places for race two for his part in the incident which dropped him to 13th.
In that another sterling drive by the BRDC Rising Star allowed him to maintain position as he went on to record 12th at the flag despite a slow puncture which caused progressive understeer over the course of the race.
"The first race was very disappointing as I'd made a great start and was hoping for a podium finish. But, as we entered the corner, Vergne braked early, probably being more cautious because of the rain and I had nowhere to go. In the second race, I had massive understeer and although was running in a train from fourth to 16th I just couldn't get close enough to overtake without the understeer from the puncture giving me major problems.
"It's been a good opening season in Formula Renault though, with some ups and downs, but I'm happy to have finished the season with a strong performance in the final rounds. And to have got fourth in the Italian Cup has all given me confidence looking ahead to 2009."