Adrian Quaife-HobbsRising British racer Adrian Quaife-Hobbs finished a fighting sixth in the second Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship race at Le Mans this weekend, despite falling foul of strict marshalling in qualifying which meant he started 15th and 14th respectively for the two races.

The 18 year-old had set a cracking pace in testing and, in his group qualifying on Saturday, easily progressed through to the Superpole shoot out. However he was adjudged to have cut the corner on one of his warm-up laps and subsequently penalised by deleting his fastest race lap. His first flying lap was aborted after coming across a yellow flag sector, his sector one time indicating he could have been in the top three.

On his next lap, Adrian posted the third quickest time, which was later deleted, leaving Adrian with no time to optimise the tyre grip.  Therefore with his tyres past their best, the BRDC Rising Star wound up with the 15th and 14th quickest times for the two races.

In the opening race Adrian made a good start to hold position but at the turn one chicane was swamped when many of his rivals bypassed it, dropping Adrian further down the field. A stirring drive allowed Adrian to move up through the order, 18th by the end of the opening lap, and thereafter he made up places to cross the line 14th.

Race two took place on Sunday and proved largely successful for the Tonbridge driver after a perfect start off the line allowed him to gain three places into the first corner. At the chicane, Adrian held the place and by the completion of the opening lap had gained another three places.

An incident on the opening lap required the safety car to be deployed, bunching up the pack, but at the restart allowed Adrian to entertain a fraught battle with Miki Monras for seventh.  The Spaniard vigorously defended Adrian’s advances, but two laps from home Adrian made a daring move round the outside at the chicane to move ahead and set after the three-way battle for third.

With just two laps remaining however, despite Adrian’s best efforts in closing the gap, he just missed out on fifth, crossing the line 0.06secs adrift.

“After a good start to the weekend it was very frustrating to come away with just sixth place however once again we underlined our pace right from the start. I ruined my chances in the race having to lose my quickest time as the tyres only really last a couple of laps and with the yellow flag and then losing third, it was always going to be a struggle.

“I’m not sure where I was supposed to have cut the corner which also meant I had to drive extra careful everywhere and wasn’t able to push as hard as I’d have liked.  Despite that I still posted the third quickest time which was pretty good.

“In the second race had the safety car not been out and wasted effectively six racing laps, my overtaking opportunities were also reduced otherwise I think I could have probably got onto the podium as I was in the battle for third place.”

Adrian’s next race will be at Assen in the Netherlands over the weekend of 8/9 August for the next rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup.

Results of race one – 17 laps
1 Jean Eric Vergne SG Formula 27:33.682
2 Albert Costa Epsilon Euskadi 27:34.089
3 Antonio Felix Da Costa Motopark Academy 27:36.265
4 Arthur Pic SG Formula 27:44.230
5 Miki Monras SG Formula 27:45.251
6 Nathanaël Berthon Epsilon Euskadi 27:45.427
14 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Motopark Academy 27:59.286

Results of race two – 15 laps
1 Jean Eric Vergne SG Formula 26:41.154
2 Antonio Felix Da Costa Motopark Academy 26:42.756
3 Kevin Magnussen Motopark Academy 26:47.226
4 Nathanaël Berthon Epsilon Euskadi 26:47.747
5 Ramez Azzam SG Formula 26:50.863
6 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Motopark Academy 26:50.972

Championship points after ten rounds: 1. Antonio Felix Da Costa 97, 2. Jean Eric Vergne 90, Albert Costa 83, 4. Miki Monras 65, 5. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs 58, 6. Nathanaël Berthon 52.