IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE NETS QUAIFE-HOBBS FASTEST LAP Adrian Quaife-Hobbs made an impressive debut at the opening rounds of the GP3 series at Barcelona this weekend. The 19 year-old only confirmed his place on the 30 car grid with Manor Racing...
IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE NETS QUAIFE-HOBBS FASTEST LAP
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs made an impressive debut at the opening rounds of the GP3 series at Barcelona this weekend. The 19 year-old only confirmed his place on the 30 car grid with Manor Racing last week and on his very first time in the car posted the sixth fastest lap.
Overnight rain greeted Adrian and the rest of the field when they came to qualifying on Saturday morning, but with hopes of the track drying Adrian ventured out, posting the fourth quickest lap first time out. The next lap Adrian went quicker still, third fastest, and then into the second spot which he held for 20 minutes.
However on his next flying lap, on which the pole spot was almost certainly his, a rare error from the Tonbridge racer saw him go off the track and hit the wall, ending his session. As a result Adrian was unable to take any further part, and on a rapidly drying track, was forced to sit and watch as his grid position for race one tumbled to 27th.
"I was really confident on that lap of being able to get pole. My first sector was fastest and I was really pushing hard but I just made a small mistake when I got on the power too early and went off into the barrier."
The opening race took place on Saturday afternoon and allowed Adrian to make one of his usual lightening starts. Ahead however, several cars failed to get away cleanly and his hopes of a charge through the field were brought to a premature end when he was hit by another car, damaging his rear tyre and forcing him to pit for a replacement.
After his stop Adrian was in scintillating form, posting the fastest lap of the race to underline his rapid pace, however rejoining a lap down, the youngster had no chance to move up through the field, crossing the line 21st at the finish.
"I made a great start and managed to get up the middle of several cars. Then as I approached the start finish line there were several cars that had stalled or just not got away cleanly and there were cars everywhere.
"I got hit by the front wing of another car which sliced into my tyre. So I had to do a slow lap back to the pits and stop for a replacement. The car was great after the stop though and I was very happy with the fastest lap of the race."
Race two featured a reverse grid for the top eight with all other drivers starting from their finishing positions, which meant Adrian would start 21st. At the lights another great getaway allowed him to move up to 16th by the end of the first lap however the race was quickly interrupted by the safety car.
At the restart, Adrian had begun to make good progress including a superb move around the outside of Tobias Hegelweld at Turn One. As he continued that over the remaining laps though an electrical fault forced him to pull off, although with the situation rectified, he later rejoined a lap down. Another super performance netted him the second fastest race lap.
"Overall it was a good weekend, not necessarily with regard to the results but certainly with the pace we had. I was very happy with sixth first time out and in qualifying I could have had pole, but I made a mistake. In race one we had accident damage and race two a small mechanical gremlin, but these things happen in motorsport. Hopefully we've got the three main issues out of the way early on and now we can go forward into the season with them all behind us."
Manor Racing team boss John Booth was equally delighted with the performance of his young charge: "Adrian immediately showed a very promising turn of speed. He did a great job and has marked himself out as a championship contender from the start. It is a shame the results don't show the pace. We are very excited about getting to Turkey and showing what we can do there."
Adrian now enjoys a three week break prior to the next rounds, at Istanbul, Turkey over the weekend of 26-27 June.