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Archive for April, 2009

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs continued his successful 2009 season in Formula Renault by taking second place in the third round of the North European Cup at the Grand Prix circuit of Hockenheim at the weekend.

The Tonbridge-based youngster was once again immediately on the pace when the weekend kicked off with testing on Friday, posting the second quickest time overall. In qualifying the pace-setters from the opening rounds again proved the ones to beat in Germany, with 18 year-old Adrian right in the thick of the action with the third quickest time.

“Testing on Friday went exactly to plan,” said Adrian, “but in qualifying the difference between the top four or five was huge, there was such a big gap between the front-runners and the rest.”

In Saturday’s race one, Adrian made a good start to pass his Motopark Academy team-mate Antonio da Costa and was right on the tail of teamster Kevin Magnussen as they entered the first corner. A superb move by the BRDC Rising Star allowed him to get right up alongside Magnussen, earned himself the place by the completion of the opening lap.

However, Adrian’s lead was short-lived as his move on Magnussen forced him wide, causing him to get a slow exit out of the corner. This allowed da Costa, now in second, to move into first place. Over the course of the remaining laps, Adrian drove a solid race to maintain second position to take his second podium from three rounds, consolidating his position in the championship.

Sunday’s race two featured a reverse grid for the top eight, putting the Sackville School pupil on the inside of the fourth row in seventh. By the end of lap one the former double T-Cars Champion had made up two places and was looking to move through the order for another podium spot.

However, on lap two da Costa and Magnussen collided, putting Magnussen out on the spot while da Costa continued with a damaged front wing. This caused the drivers behind to bunch up over the course of the next ten laps and in the shuffle for positions Adrian was hit by another driver dislodging his front wing.

For three laps Adrian struggled on, but with the wing now underneath the car and him losing valuable time, he was forced into the pits to remove it. With just three laps left to run, Adrian rejoined the circuit and despite the lack of down force was able to move up to 15th at the flag, to take the final championship point and post the second fastest race lap.

“Overall it was another good weekend as we showed great pace in testing, qualifying and the races. Sadly, it was a case of having a great first race and a not so good second race. This is was due largely to the reverse grid situation where the guys at the front don’t necessarily have the same pace as those four rows behind.

“It’s to be expected though and is what makes the racing so exciting to watch. But for those who qualify well and get a good result in the opening race it can be a little frustrating. There is some consolation though to have still been on the pace in race two even without a front wing!

“There was a bit of confusion in race two when Antonio and Kevin collided. A safety vehicle was deployed which the first three ignored but the fourth place guy slowed. This of course bunched everyone else up and allowed the top three to get away. We thought it was the safety car and by the time it was all sorted the three lead cars were some seven seconds clear, so it gave no realistic chance of achieving a podium finish.

“Now though we head to the next rounds of the Eurocup in Spa-Francorchamps in confident mood. We were quick last time out there so we’ll be looking for another two good solid results when we race there.”

Adrian will take to the famous Grand Prix circuit high in the Ardennes region of Belgium next weekend May 2/3.

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs began his 2009 Formula Renault campaign with a dominant lights-to-flag victory in the opening round of the North European Cup at Zandvoort on Easter Saturday. The 18 year-old from Tonbridge, on his first ever visit to the Dutch track, qualified on pole and romped to victory leading the Motopark Academy team to a clean sweep of the podium.

The BRDC Rising Star stamped his authority on proceedings with the fastest lap of the race as reigning NEC and Eurocup champions Motopark took five of the top six places.

The weekend kicked off well for the former double T-Cars Champion, the teenager setting the pace in Friday’s testing and then storming to pole position on Saturday, more than three tenths of a second ahead of his team-mate Felix Da Costa. As the lights signalled the start of race one, Adrian made the perfect getaway to take the immediate lead and over the course of the 16-lapper extended the gap to nearly eight seconds at the flag.

“I’d never driven anything here before Friday so I was very happy with the performance in testing,” said Adrian. “In each session there was about enough time to get 12 laps in and I spent much of the first session learning the track. In the second session, I was second quickest and then in qualifying on my first set of new tyres I posted a 37.7 and on my very first lap on the second set the pole time of 36.2.”

Race two was held on Monday and featured a reverse grid for the top eight putting Adrian on the fourth row. At the lights, with the cars ahead some one and a half seconds a lap slower, the first corner proved critical and effectively ended Adrian’s bid for a repeat of his race-winning performance of Saturday.

Entering the bend, the pack ahead braked early, leaving Adrian with nowhere to go as he ploughed into the back of his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, damaging his front wing and dropping him to ninth. A spirited drive however allowed him to move through the field and by lap five he was up to fifth, just two tenths off the pace of the leaders, despite a severe lack of downforce.

By mid distance however his front left tyre overheated and burst forcing Adrian to pit for a replacement. At the stop the team also fitted a new front wing and after rejoining a lap and a half down, the Sackville School pupil recovered well, posting the fastest lap of the race but crossing the line down the order.

“With the grid reversed for the first eight, some of the cars ahead were much slower than the rest of us and as we went into the first corner, they braked so much earlier that we expected. I had nowhere to go and hit the back of Magnussen, who in turn hit a car in front.

“Unfortunately that damaged half of my front wing but I still managed to fight on and get up to the back of fourth place although it was hard to overtake when losing so much downforce. Had the tyre not burst I feel I could have carried on through the order as my pace was still quicker than several of the cars ahead.

“Despite that result though, I’m very happy with the performance across the weekend, I was quickest throughout both races so the pace is definitely there which should set me up well for next weekend and the rest of the season.”

Adrian will return to racing action next weekend with the opening rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship, supporting the World Series by Renault, at Barcelona in Spain.

After a horrible winter when her sponsor for the 2009 Formula Palmer Audi Championship went into liquidation, it looked like Cassey Watson’s Motorsport in 2009 was going to be as a spectator. Then incredibly she received 4 different offers to drive and is so grateful for the generosity.

Making a choice was extremely hard for Cassey and her team.

Kc’s main motivation as is for everyone is to be competitive and that left two great choices, 1 front wheel drive and one rear. As the goal is still to make it into FPA later this year the rear wheel drive option was chosen.

Photo by Dex / FocalCapture.co.uk

So in 2009 Kc will be racing in the Max5 Championship driving a Mazda MX5

“I can’t wait”, Cassey said, “it should be great the MX5 looks a really fun car to drive, it’s going to be tough as looking at the results from the last few years the frontrunners have been racing these cars for several years and it’s very competitive”. The 1st round on the 12th April at Thruxton is going to be hard work as Kc will never have driven the car at all until she drives it onto the track for qualifying so the steepness of that learning curve would remind Chris Moyles of his recent adventures.

Kc is extremely grateful to Jon Halliwell for putting the deal together and can’t wait for the first round just next week.

Kc will be racing under her traditional number 72 again but is not sure about the purple paint yet though

Hopefully though during the qualifying and race she will get settled in the car ready for the second round, because that takes place at her favourite circuit Oulton Park!