FOURTH AND FIFTH FOR QUAIFE-HOBBS AT SPA Adrian Quaife-Hobbs once again set a blistering pace in the wet free practice for the seventh and eighth rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup at Spa this weekend. The 17 year-old BRDC Rising Star...
FOURTH AND FIFTH FOR QUAIFE-HOBBS AT SPA
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs once again set a blistering pace in the wet free practice for the seventh and eighth rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 Italia Cup at Spa this weekend. The 17 year-old BRDC Rising Star secured fifth in Saturday's opening race and a sterling drive in Sunday's second race almost netted another podium finish.
The Tonbridge teenager was second quickest on Friday ahead of the double-header rounds high in the Ardennes mountain region in Belgium. During Saturday's qualifying Adrian struggled with both oversteer and understeer on the famous Grand Prix circuit and had to settle for fifth and sixth quickest times for the two races.
"It was difficult then to decide which to concentrate on fixing," said Adrian. "Free practice had been great in the wet but in the dry, it was real struggle. Depending on different sections of the track, we had understeer in some places and oversteer in the others."
In race one held on Saturday afternoon, Adrian made a good start, passing his team-mate Cesar Ramos, but entering the first corner he was forced onto the exit road and lost the place again. Running in seventh place, two cars ahead collided and a superb move by Adrian to avoid the incident, allowed him to move ahead and into fifth.
A relatively uneventful remaining few laps followed which netted Adrian fifth place at the flag. "It was a pretty uninteresting race after that, but good to pick up more valuable championship points. We made a few changes to the car in between the two races though and that made quite a difference in the second."
Race two was held on Sunday and proved much more exciting for the former double T-Cars Champion. Another great getaway allowed him again to pass Ramos off the line and looking to pass Pal Varhaug.
However an aggressive move by the former race winner saw him cut across in front of Adrian on the run up to Eau Rouge resulting in him having to back off. With his car now handling much better, Adrian was soon chasing Siso Cunill, taking the place before the completion of the lap.
On lap two Adrian was back up behind Varhaug with his own team-mate Ramos snapping at his heels. "I'd closed the gap right down to Varhaug and had Cesar (Ramos) right behind me. He pushed me wide though and got past me which allowed Cunill through too, but I managed to get the place back again on the same lap."
The next lap Varhaug had a coming together with Ramos, for which the latter later received a drive-through penalty. Adrian was fortunate not to get caught up in the incident, which resulted in Varhaug spinning out.
For the third time Adrian set about chasing down Daniel Zampieri and Cunill, who he caught and passed on the exit of Eau Rouge. Now in fourth place, the car in front was that of Niky Sebastiani, some six seconds ahead.
A storming drive over the closing laps allowed Adrian to close the gap to just over a second. A last-lap attempt to wrest the final podium place was considered but after being pushed wide onto the grass, Adrian wisely lifted off to preserve his fourth place to the flag.
"It was an interesting race, that's for sure. We definitely had the pace as I was three times able to fight back and get on terms for the podium positions although it was a little frustrating to say the least. But fourth is good, we're steadily racking up the points and the performance of the car and myself puts me in a confident mood ahead of my next race, at Silverstone."
Adrian's next outing will be at the Northamptonshire home of the British Grand Prix for the only UK round of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, which supports the exciting World Series by Renault series. To obtain FREE tickets to see Adrian in action at Silverstone on Saturday 7 June and Sunday 8 June, please visit the official Renault website at www.renaultsport.co.uk and click on the link on the home page.