Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs had a frustrating start to his GP3 campaign after a broken starter motor in the weekend’s opening 15-lap race effectively ended his chances of capitalising on his pre-season testing form. Adrian went into the opening rounds of the 16-race series buoyed by a scintillating pace in Barcelona in which he topped the time sheets.

Arriving in Turkey the 20 year-old was confident of repeating that pace with the Marussia Manor Racing team, but in Friday’s wet/dry sessions was unable to get the most out of his Pirelli tyres. In qualifying on Saturday morning, Adrian was unfortunate to have his flying lap ruined by a spinning car, which came back onto the track in front of him, ending his run. He wound up 16th fastest but still confident of being able to move up through the order.

However as he took to the grid for Saturday’s opening race, Adrian suffered a problem with the starter motor, which his mechanics tried to fix prior to the start. However as the one-minute board was shown, Adrian was pushed off the grid, and forced to start the race from the pit-lane. In a field of 30 cars, and with the added handicap of suffering a drive-through penalty for the grid infringement, he drove a strong race to make up six places crossing the line 24th.

With the results of race one determining the grid for race two, Adrian lined up in that position on the 12th row and by lap three was already up to 17th. Over the course of the remaining laps, the Tonbridge racer was not able to make much more progress but was happy to have made up eight places at the flag to finish 16th.

“It certainly hasn’t been the start of the season I was hoping for after topping the times in testing,” said Adrian. “In qualifying a car spun and came back onto the track just as I was going for my flying lap, which brought that to a finish. In race one the starter motor failed on the grid and although the team did a good job to try and fix it, because the one-minute board had been shown, the marshals pushed me off the grid and into the pits, and then I got a drive-through penalty too.

“That was my weekend pretty much over although I think we recovered well in the second race coming back through the field from 24th to 16th. I was satisfied with our pace in both races, it’s just disappointing we had the starter motor problem in race one as we showed we could have had potentially two strong finishes.

“We will put that all behind us now though and if we carry on working like we did this weekend I’m sure we will do well and be back on the pace for Barcelona.”

The next double-header rounds of the 2011 GP3 Series take place over the weekend of 20-22 May at the Catalunya circuit in Barcelona, Spain.