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.