Adrian Quaife-HobbsAutoGP World Series Champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs notched up his sixth pole position from seven rounds, and recorded his tenth podium finish of the season in the final double-header rounds in Sonoma, San Francisco on Sunday. The 21 year-old from Tonbridge, Kent also clinched the Under 21 title and sealed the team’s championship for Super Nova International, despite ending the opening race in the gravel after being taken out of the lead at turn two.

Marking the series’ inaugural outing on US soil, Quaife-Hobbs got the weekend off to the best possible start, notching up pole some half a second clear of his rivals. With the drivers’ title already claimed in Brazil last time out, the Briton was focused on helping Super Nova secure the team’s crown, as well as adding to his impressive race-winning tally of five victories.

Saturday’s opening race had promised the chance for the new champion to shine on his American racing debut, as a superb getaway allowed him to leap into the lead ahead of the chasing pack. However entering the second corner, the BRDC member was suddenly hit by Antonio Pizzonia, who launched over the top of Quaife-Hobbs’ Zytek V8-engined Lola, missing his head by inches, but thankfully without any injury.

Overnight a sterling job by the team to repair the substantial damage allowed Adrian to take the grid for Sunday’s race two in 12th place. A lightening getaway, narrowly avoiding the stalled car of Kotaro Sakurai, saw him leap to sixth by the first corner, and fifth by the second, before the safety car was deployed to retrieve the stricken stationery car.

At the restart, Quaife-Hobbs continued his charge through the field, catching and passing several cars before the mandatory pit stops. Entering the pits in third, a superb job by the team saw Quaife-Hobbs leap-frog into second place, and over the remaining laps he maintained a steady pace to finish just over three seconds adrift, to record his fourth runner-up spot of the season.

“I really wanted to end the season with a podium finish, so it’s great for the team and myself to finish with the taste of champagne,” said Adrian. “I think we could possibly have won, however in the pit stop, (Antonio) Spavone engaged the pit-limiter on the wrong line, so we had a really slow entry into the pits, which cost us quite a few seconds. After the stop, I chased down Sergey (Sirotkin) but my tyres started to fade, and I felt that finishing the season with a podium was too important to risk, so I eased off.

“Winning the championship the way we did was astonishing: we had tough rivals like (Pal) Varhaug and Sirotkin who gave us a hard time, but overall we were always consistently the ones to beat; six poles from seven events, five wins and ten podium finishes speak for themselves, particularly the perfect weekend in Portimao.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Super Nova International for giving me the best possible car every weekend, and AutoGP for providing us with such a great championship to race in.”

Adrian will return home to the UK on Tuesday and will then embark on an extensive testing programme in Spain in GP2, starting with two days in Barcelona with Addax, and a further two days in Jerez with Arden. After that the Champion will be tasked with shaking down the 2013 specification AutoGP car during a two-day test in Barcelona on 6&7 December.