adrian quaife-hobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs took his first Eurocup podium in round four of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at Spa on Sunday and narrowly missed out on the double, finishing fourth in Saturday’s third round. The 18 year-old from Tonbridge started the event on a high, posting the second quickest time in the first test on Friday and fourth in the second.

As is normal at the Belgian circuit, heavy rain played its part in the outcome of the event, with severe flooding forcing the organisers to scrap the split qualifying which would determine the fastest 24 to go into the Superpole Shootout. Consequently, all 33 cars took to the track for the session which would dictate the grids for both races.

In that, the BRDC Rising Star was immediately on the pace, until a red flag thrown when Adrian was about to start his quick lap interrupted the session. At the restart, Adrian again set an impressive pace running second fastest until the closing minutes when he dropped to fifth. His second fastest time was good enough for a second row start for race two.

In Saturday’s opening round, a good start allowed the Sackville School pupil to retain his position and on lap two the former double T-Cars Champion moved into fourth when his Motopark Academy team-mate Kevin Magnussen dropped two places. Adrian went on to record fourth place at the flag.

In the second race, Adrian started from third and a great start allowed him to get the jump on Magnussen to move into second on the opening lap. Adrian held the position for four laps keeping pre-event championship leader Antonio Felix Da Costa at bay until lap five, crossing the line to take third and move him into fifth in the points standings.

“We went into the event full of confidence as we’d been very quick at Spa in the pre-season test,” said Adrian. “Testing went really well, we were quick in both sessions but in the qualifying it was hard to find a clear track with everyone out at the same time. Then when I’d put new tyres on and was going for a time, the red flag came out, so I lost time in the pits. Despite that I was happy with fifth and third quickest times although in future I need to look at getting a quicker first lap.

“In the first race, I was dicing for position with Vergne on the opening lap and on lap two he managed to get Magnussen and then I got past him but Vergne was quicker than me and although I caught him over the course of the race I couldn’t get past.

“In the second I slotted in behind Albert (Costa) and Kevin (Magnussen) went to the outside at the Esses and I managed to get in behind and take second. However the safety car came out which changed everything. I normally come on strong over the last few laps but after being slowed up for several laps, I wasn’t able to do that and da Costa got by a few laps later.

“I’m happy with a podium though, the Eurocup is very competitive so it’s a good result. We’re closing the gap all the time to Albert who does seem to have the edge. And over the five week break we’ll be pulling out all the stops to close that gap further.”

Results of race One – 12 laps
1. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi 28:00.641
2. Antonio Felix Da Costa Motopark Academy 28:03.666
3. Jean Eric Vergne SG Formula 28:06.614
4. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Motopark Academy 28:06.950
5. Kevin Magnussen Motopark Academy 28:08.456
6. Nigel Melker MP Motorsport 28:15.194

Results of race two – 11 laps
1. Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi 27:31.983
2. Antonio Felix Da Costa Motopark Academy 27:33.232
3. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Motopark Academy 27:33.972
4. Kevin Magnussen Motopark Academy 27:36.531
5. Miki Monras SG Formula 27:38.739
6. Nathanaël Berthon Epsilon Euskadi 27:39.991

Championship points after four rounds: 1, Albert Costa 47, 2. Antonio Felix Da Costa 46, 3. Nathanaël Berthon 24, 4. Miki Monras 22, 5. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs 21, =6 Nico Muller & Jean Eric Vergne 13.

Adrian now enjoys a six week break before the next rounds of the Eurocup which take place at the Hungaroring circuit in Hungary over the weekend of June 13/14.