QUAIFE-HOBBS FLIES IN ESTORIL FRENAULT EUROCUP British single-seater star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs impressed the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship regulars when the series visited Estoril in Portugal this weekend. The MSA British Race ...
QUAIFE-HOBBS FLIES IN ESTORIL FRENAULT EUROCUP
British single-seater star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs impressed the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship regulars when the series visited Estoril in Portugal this weekend. The MSA British Race Elite/BRDC Rising Star once again set a cracking pace in testing in the BVM Minardi car to post the fourth quickest time and backed that up with the third quickest lap in race one.
On another new track for the 16 year-old rookie, Adrian once again rose to the challenge and after spending the first two test sessions acclimatising himself with the former Grand Prix circuit, ventured out for the third session in confident mood. A remarkable performance for the Tonbridge teenager saw him fourth quickest out of a quality field of 33 drivers from across Europe.
After the times from all four sessions had been combined, Adrian wound up ninth quickest overall setting him up well for Saturday's crucial qualifying session, which would determine the grids for both races. The rules dictate that the drivers' quickest time would determine the grid for Saturday's race one, his second for race two held on Sunday afternoon.
Come qualifying Adrian, buoyed by his testing performance, set out looking for this first pole in the highly competitive single-seater championship and topped the times right from the start. Lap two saw him slip to fourth but on his fourth flying lap the unfortunate driver was pitched off into the gravel after a rare error. "I simply left my braking too late and entered the corner too quick. I got the rear wheels onto the gravel and that was it. I got pushed out by the marshals and managed to get back to the pits, but because of receiving outside assistance, was forced into parc ferme, my session over."
Despite missing the rest of the session, the retirement putting paid to any hopes of Adrian repeating his superb podium in the NEC Formula Renault 2.0 at Spa last weekend, he was left down in 23rd and 22nd respectively for the two races.
Race one kicked off on Saturday afternoon but on a track featuring long, fast corners, he was unable to get close to the cars in front without losing downforce which resulted in bad understeer as the race progressed. Despite that a clear lap mid-way through the race allowed Adrian to post the third quickest lap, showing his remarkable pace in testing was no fluke. He went on to record 20th at the flag.
Sunday's second race saw an improvement early on in the 17 lapper which saw Adrian overtake six cars to get up into 16th place. But for the hard-charging youngster who for most of the race was challenging for positions, his over-worked tyres finally lost their grip, losing him two seconds a lap and dropping him back down the order, eventually crossing the line 19th.
Adrian's final race of 2007 will be the last round of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at Barcelona in Spain, this weekend October 27/28.