QUAIFE-HOBBS CLINCHES FOURTH IN FORMULA RENAULT TITLE BATTLE In only his first full season in Formula Renault, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs narrowly missed out on the runner-up spot in the hotly contested Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup at Monza this ...
QUAIFE-HOBBS CLINCHES FOURTH IN FORMULA RENAULT TITLE BATTLE
In only his first full season in Formula Renault, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs narrowly missed out on the runner-up spot in the hotly contested Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup at Monza this weekend. The 17 year-old Sackville School pupil once again showed a cracking pace at the historic Italian track, going into the second race of the weekend with a realistic chance of converting his seventh place grid start into a podium finish, which would have given him second in the title battle.
However a broken driveshaft five laps in while battling for the position which would have guaranteed him at least third, meant he left the circuit in fourth place. A staggering 48 drivers entered the championship in 2008 underlining his impressive performance in only his second season in single-seaters.
In the first official practice at the circuit, the BRDC Rising Star suffered with a fuel system problem leaving the teenager characteristically off the pace. However a sterling job by the BVM Minardi team quickly rectified the problem and allowed the Tonbridge racer a return to form in the crucial qualifying session.
Around the ultra-fast Monza track, Adrian managed a sixth and seventh place grid slot for the two races, achieved without the benefit of slipstreaming the opposition.
For the weekend's opening race and despite not making any significant changes after qualifying, Adrian drove a steady race to 11th although a handling problem left him not entirely happy with the set-up of his car. However as a leading championship contender, following the race he was required to have his car scrutineered, along with many of his rivals.
With the car completely stripped and returned to the team prior to race two, the team once again worked well to get the car set-up leaving Adrian confident of being able to convert his third row start into a potential podium finish.
After making one of his customary good starts, Adrian was in amongst the battle for third in the championship before his driveshaft broke after five laps, leaving him frustrated at what might have been.
"The team did a fantastic job in sorting out the fuel system problems we had in practice and I was happy to be sixth and seventh quickest in qualifying even without a tow, which around Monza is pretty good, said Adrian. "In the first race we had a problem with the handling which meant I spun off into the gravel, but despite that I managed to get back up to 11th at the flag.
"At the end, the main championship contenders were all called for scrutineering and after that the team had to rebuild everything ready for race two. So, we were back to the original settings but still in a great position to be challenging for second in the title battle.
"I made a great start and was battling for position and feeling pretty confident that I could get another strong finish and at the very least, third in the championship, when coming out of the chicane the driveshaft broke and I had to park it.
"It's a very frustrating end to the weekend obviously as we were so close. But you can't predict these things, driveshafts do break and I know I must not forget that I finished fourth out of 48 drivers who registered for this championship, in only my first year in Formula Renault."
Adrian will resume his 2008 season in the final rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at Catalunya this weekend 18/19 October.