FRUSTRATION FOR QUAIFE-HOBBS IN PORTUGAL After winning his first ever Formula Renault race two weeks ago, BRDC Rising Star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs headed to Portugal with high hopes of a repeat performance in the latest rounds of the Eurocup ...
FRUSTRATION FOR QUAIFE-HOBBS IN PORTUGAL
After winning his first ever Formula Renault race two weeks ago, BRDC Rising Star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs headed to Portugal with high hopes of a repeat performance in the latest rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship. Last time out Adrian's maiden win was in the Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup race at Mugello.
This weekend in Estoril, a staggering 54 cars had entered the penultimate rounds of Europe's fiercely contested junior category. Up against the cream of the European opposition however, the 17 year-old rookie wasted no time in showing he meant business.
Hitting the track for the first time on Thursday, the Tonbridge teenager quickly established himself as a front-runner in Friday's qualifying, topping the times in his group, before slipping down the order.
Unfortunately the former double T-Cars champion had suffered a suspension problem on Friday which wasn't found until after the test so the BVM Minardi team had to revert to the set-up from Thursday. So with the other teams having improved their cars between the two sessions, this left Adrian on the back foot when it really mattered and rarely the youngster found himself out of the superpole qualifying.
"The car was great in free practice and I was confident of being able to get a good qualifying. But when it really mattered I just couldn't get a good set-up and was left frustrated with being so far off the pace."
In the weekend's opening race on Saturday, Adrian started in a lowly 30th place and with it all to do in the race. However, another storming drive from the youngster allowed him to claw his way through the pack and netted him 16th at the flag.
"It's been a very frustrating weekend all round really. On Thursday the car was ok, but on Friday we wasted so much time as we found a suspension problem which meant we lost pretty much the whole day. We expect to improve and more forward over the course of the weekend not go backwards."
The second race on Sunday, proved even more disappointing for Adrian although he took some consolation from his improved race pace that saw his lap times only a few tenths off the eventual race winner and new series leader Valtteri Bottas.
After making another good start to the race however, his charge was ended two thirds of the way through at turn five by a collision with Pablo Montilla which ended his race on the spot and forced out the safety car. "I think my car was so slow he just didn't expect me to travelling at that speed and hit me, which lifted the back of my car off the ground and tipped me into a spin into the gravel. I was so slow in a straight line that other drivers were going past me as though I was standing still. So it was a very disappointing weekend coming on the back of my maiden win last time out.
Adrian will be back in action in the next rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup at the historic Monza circuit in Italy over the weekend of 11 and 12 October, where he hopes another victory will move him up into second place in the standings.