Adrian Quaife-Hobbs suffered mixed emotions in the sixth round of the 2013 GP2 Series at the Nurburgring this weekend. Arriving at the track, located in the Eifel mountains of Germany buoyed by a recent strong form, the BRDC Superstar headed into the event looking for a good result to boost his championship bid.
A strong pace by the reigning AutoGP World Series Champion netted the 11th fastest time in free practice, the 22 year-old happy with his pace and confident ahead of qualifying later that day. Taking to the track for qualifying Quaife-Hobbs was immediately on the pace posting the sixth fastest time on his first set of tyres. On his cool down lap, an ever-improving performance saw him already up in the first sector, but as he headed for his second flying lap, he caught traffic, dropping him to seventh.
Lining up on the inside of row four for Saturday’s opening counter, disaster struck with a rare error which caused him to stall at the lights. Before he could get away, the car of Kevin Ceccon, already engaged in a barrel roll after a collision with another car, ploughed into the back of the stricken MP Motorsport car, ruling Quaife-Hobbs out of contention.
Although himself uninjured, his car required extensive repairs ahead of Sunday’s sprint race, the team working into the night to fix the right rear corner and replace damaged bodywork.
Starting the race this morning from the back of the grid, Quaife-Hobbs knew it would be a tough challenge to make any headway to the front, however he also knew he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. At the lights Quaife-Hobbs made a good start to gain five places, however brake and steering problems as a result of his first race accident, prevented him from capitalising on his true potential, eventually place 16th at the flag.
“Overall there are a lot of positives to take from the weekend,” said Quaife-Hobbs. “We had great pace in both practice and qualifying, but unfortunately I caught a lot of cars on my quick lap, without which I’m sure could have netted the third fastest time. However I lost the advantage I had with the traffic, but we’ve proved once again we are able to fight for the top spot.
“Race one was naturally disappointing. I made a rare error at the lights and stalled, and once I was hit up the back, there was too much damage to continue. Thankfully we both managed to get out uninjured, however my car was pretty badly damaged too.
“In the second race the car didn’t handle as well as it should, mainly the braking and steering, which prevented me from capitalising on my good start. I made up around five places, but the problems, which although weren’t detrimental to safety, nevertheless affected the performance.”
Quaife-Hobbs now enjoys a three-week break ahead of the next round of the GP2 Series at the Hungaroring, Budapest on 27&28 July, where he aims to put his knowledge of the track to good use in his bid for maiden GP2 victory.
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