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Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs brought his GP2 Series campaign to a close with two strong drives through the field in the final rounds in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Storming through from a pit lane start to finish 11th in race one, a return to race pace in race two netted the sixth fastest lap, but broken rear suspension brought his charge to an end just three laps from home.

Undertaking an intensive simulator programme in the six-week break since the last round in Singapore, Quaife-Hobbs arrived at the track for the first time on Monday and was optimistic of rounding out his first GP2 season with a repeat of the form that secured podium finishes in Monaco and Spa, and a maiden series win in Monza.

A brake issue on his 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara in free practice on Friday failed to dampen his enthusiasm and confidence ahead of qualifying later that evening, and with new brakes fitted to his Hilmer Motorsport car he headed into the session aiming for a good result. On his second run on new tyres, he flew through the first and second sectors, and was on for a strong grid position until a red flag on the final sector slowed his progress and dropped him down the order.

Despite that the 22 year-old took to the grid for the weekend’s opening race in 17th, determined to put his qualifying disappointment behind him. At the lights a rare mistake from the Briton left him stranded on the grid, and with a second formation lap required was forced to start from the pit lane.

A tremendous charge through the field over the course of the 29 laps, allowed the 2012 AutoGP World Series Champion to carve his way through, and salvage 11th at the flag, to set him up for a potential top ten finish in Sunday morning’s final race of the season.

A superb getaway saw the GP2 rookie gain five places on the run into turn one, entering the corner in sixth place. However the stricken car of Johnny Cecotto ahead required quick-thinking avoidance techniques by the BRDC Superstar, but in the process Quaife-Hobbs hit another car, damaging his front wing and steering.

By mid distance, Quaife-Hobbs has recovered several places and was embroiled in a battle for 15th with Rio Haryanto, his former GP3 rival proving somewhat difficult to pass despite Quaife-Hobbs’ determined efforts. Eventually finding a way past the slower car, Quaife-Hobbs set off after the cars ahead, catching and passing Jake Rozenzweig for 11th on lap 17.

With just three laps remaining Quaife-Hobbs suddenly suffered rear suspension failure, a display of superb car control allowed him to safely pull off the track and into retirement, but brought his hopes of a top ten finish firmly to an end.

“It was a rather frustrating weekend in Abu Dhabi, we had a small brake issue in practice, and in qualifying my fastest lap was destroyed by the red flag, however the car was fast all weekend and I’ve had great fun with Hilmer Motorsport this year,” said Quaife-Hobbs.

“I stalled on the grid in race one, but fought my way back to 11th, and in the second, I had a great start and was up to sixth but had to take avoiding action into turn one, hitting another car which broke my front wing and bent the steering and dropped me to 16th.

“I managed to get back up to 11th but my rear upright broke three laps from home, race over! It’s not the way I wanted to end my first season in GP2, as we had some really solid results during the year, and it would have been nice to finish on a high.”

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian 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.

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs left his home GP2 Series event at Silverstone this weekend encouraged by a pace that saw him equal the times of his rivals in both qualifying and the races. Although unable to repeat his fine podium form of Monaco, the 22 year-old salvaged two strong results, after tricky conditions at the Northamptonshire track cost him a possible top six grid slot.

In qualifying on Friday, the Tonbridge racer was comfortably in the top six on his first flying lap, but traffic and yellow flags on his second two laps, together with drizzle at the midway point, prevented him from capitalising on the MP Motorsport 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara’s speed, dropping him down the order.

In Saturday’s opening 29 lap race, Quaife-Hobbs made a good start gaining several places at the lights, but had to avoid a stalled car ahead which lost him momentum, and dropped him to last. Over the course of the opening laps, Quaife-Hobbs managed to claw back the gap to championship leader Stefano Coletti.

As the pit stop window opened, it become evident that radio communication with the team was not working, costing the BRDC Superstar two laps until he was called in for his compulsory tyre stop, via pit board. Although a minor technical issue, it nevertheless cost the reigning AutoGP World Series champion eight seconds, and with it a possible eighth place and the reverse grid pole for race two.

After his stop, Quaife-Hobbs was consistently lapping among the leaders, netting the third fastest race time, but was unable to make any headway into the final points finishing position.

Lining up tenth for Sunday’s second race a clutch problem suffered on the warm-up lap prevented Quaife-Hobbs from utilising the medium tyres to their advantage, when the lights went out. A sterling effort by the Briton however allowed him to enjoy several battles during the 19 laps, including a strong challenge on Coletti at the mid-way point, before finishing 11th.

“It’s a little disappointing not to get a better result at my home race, however we have to focus on the positives from the weekend, which is that we had great pace in both races and the qualifying session,” said Quaife-Hobbs.

“It’s just a shame we weren’t able to capitalise on that pace and get a good grid position for the opening race as I’m sure we could have converted that into a strong result if we’d started higher up the grid.

“But looking ahead to Germany, we need to keep the momentum going forwards, we’re able to match the pace of the leaders, so we need to ensure we get a better start position in race one to pull it all together.

“I’m looking forward to racing at the Nurburgring, I haven’t raced there for a while, so it will be good to get back to one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar and bring home some good results.”

Quaife-Hobbs returns to race action next weekend at the Nurburgring, Germany where he aims to keep the momentum going in his bid for his maiden GP2 victory.

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs bounced back from a disastrous qualifying to net his maiden GP2 Series podium with second place in Monaco on Saturday.

Marking his first ever visit to the Principality, the 22 year-old spent much of practice and qualifying learning the track layout and trying to sort the problems that beset him last time out in Spain. Armed with an MP Motorsport 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara, Quaife-Hobbs was however disappointed to end up 26th, with his team-mate Daniel De Jong alongside.

Lining up at the back of the field for the opening race, the reigning AutoGP World Series Champion successfully negotiated his way around a multiple first corner crash, which claimed almost half the 26-car grid. With a controlled drive, the BRDC Superstar kept his cool to move up to eighth before the race was red flagged to remove the stricken cars.

At the restart held under the safety car, Quaife-Hobbs quickly showed the form that netted him his dominant championship title last season. A solid first half allowed him to hold eighth, although he was relegated to ninth during the compulsory pit stop.

Rejoining the track behind Stephane Richelmi, the Briton closed down the gap over the remaining laps, and began to apply pressure to the eighth placed driver. On the final lap, he found a way past with a superb move at Ste Devote.

Starting race two from pole position and with spots of rain falling, Quaife-Hobbs made a flying start and held first position for three laps, but with his front tyres not yet fully up to temperature was forced to brake earlier in the opening laps. Initially keeping Coletti behind, he was however forced to concede the place when Coletti made a do or die move at the chicane allow.

Wisely Quaife-Hobbs elected not to fight for the position, and instead waited for his tyres to come up to temperature before mounting a serious attack. In a yo-yo situation, the gap continually fluctuating, he began his push for the lead with eight laps remaining.

However on a track notoriously difficult to pass on, and with his maiden podium in sight, he eventually decided to accept second place at undoubtedly the highlight event of the year, to notch up his first podium in the series and add further to the points tally opened in Bahrain.

The GP2 Series next heads to Silverstone on 28th to 30th June for the British Grand Prix event, which marks Quaife-Hobbs’ only UK appearance of the season.

“I had a great start. I was quite surprised when I looked into my mirrors to see how big a lead I had going up the hill. But there was a little bit of rain and I focused on warming the rear tyres and I think I did not put quite enough heat in the fronts because I just under steered in the Casino and everyone caught me up. Then going through the next laps I was really trying hard to pull a gap and I did manage a small one under the back straight with Stefano. Then he got in my slipstream. I thought he was a bit too far back to have a go. I braked late and I locked up. I looked into my mirror and Stefano was just there just coming straight down the inside. I tried to release the brake to get back ahead, but there was nothing I could do. He was pretty committed to that move. I think if I tried to defend we would not have made the corner. There was no point in trying. I settled down and followed him hoping I would be able to attack him towards the end of the race”.

“I am delighted to get my first podium, which after the disaster in qualifying, is a great result. We proved yet again that we have the race pace, now we must focus on sorting the issues we’re having in qualifying. I cannot believe the turn around. To come from the very last spot on the grid for race one, to take my first podium finish is a great result. Having half the field go out in race one was naturally a big help, I don’t think I’ve ever made up 13 places in one lap before!”

“It’s now four weeks until the next round, and we need to look into improving our qualifying form so that we’re not playing catch-up in the races.”

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com
and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com

Adrian Quaife-HobbsFirst year GP2 Series team MP Motorsport celebrated its maiden podium in the FIA Formula One World Championship support category during round eight in Monaco on Saturday, 25th May, with Adrian Quaife-Hobbs racing to a famous second place on the streets of the Principality.

Off the back of an incredible top eight result during a dramatic and incident packed seventh round on Friday, 24th May, Quaife-Hobbs made the most of his ‘reverse grid’ pole position for the Sprint Race to scorch away from the line and lead for the first couple of laps.

Although having to succumb to the challenge of championship leader Stefano Coletti at the exit of the tunnel on the third tour, Quaife-Hobbs didn’t put a wheel wrong thereafter and saw off the ever present threat of Mitch Evans and Felipe Nasr to the chequered flag on lap 30.

Not only taking his and the team’s first podium in GP2 at the calendar’s crown jewel event, the result has enabled Quaife-Hobbs to rocket up the championship standings from 17th position, prior to the weekend, into 11th place.

“It’s amazing”, said an elated Quaife-Hobbs after race two, “Obviously we were helped a little bit [in race one] with the crash at Turn One, but I was still fast and I overtook [Stephane] Richelmi on the last lap to get the pole for race two which completely turned my weekend around. This podium is a great reward for the team and how hard they’ve worked.”

Capping two very strong races for MP Motorsport, team-mate Daniël De Jong claimed his first point of the 2013 campaign with 10th place in round seven – a fantastic achievement considering he had to battle back from a drive-through penalty – before adding ninth place in round eight.

Like Quaife-Hobbs, De Jong was able to avoid the chaos in Friday’s race to post an impressively strong result and he converted his fifth row grid slot for round eight into his second top 10 finish of the weekend. Frustratingly, the Dutchman was a mere 0.6 seconds shy of a top eight points result in race two after an impressively competitive drive.

“It’s really great to score my first point of the season in GP2”, said De Jong, “Race one was pretty crazy at the start but we managed to come through OK without getting any damage. It was disappointing to get the penalty but the car was good so I could do some good lap times and take a good finish. We were really close to scoring again in race two, overtaking was impossible though.”

Quaife-Hobbs and De Jong impress on streets of Monte-Carlo
At the start of Friday’s race, chaos reigned almost immediately with a multi-car tangle at the first corner, Ste Devote, resulted in a red flag stoppage. Quaife-Hobbs managed to expertly thread his way through past the stricken cars into eighth position while De Jong just managed to squeeze through the middle of two collisions to emerge in ninth place.

Following a lengthy delay, the race was re-started behind the Safety Car in the order at the time of the stoppage. Running in eighth and ninth, Quaife-Hobbs and De Jong circulated in that order until the former took his mandatory pit-stop at the end of the 10th tour – from which he emerged in 11th place, ahead of Jon Lancaster who had been holding his compatriot up during the early stages.

While the majority of front-runners stopped during the next few laps, De Jong remained on track until the end of the 15th tour when he pitted from second place. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, a problem with the rear jack cost him significant time and the frustration was compounded when he was given a drive-through penalty for straying over the yellow line when exiting the pits.

Despite that, De Jong produced a determined drive to claw his way back into contention for the top 10 from 16th place. Swarming all over the back of Tom Dillmann’s car into the last couple of laps, De Jong sliced past on the final tour to brilliantly secure his first championship point of the season.

Quaife-Hobbs, meanwhile, was up into ninth place when De Jong pitted and spent lap after lap bottled up behind the clearly slower Stephane Richelmi. With the ‘reverse grid’ pole position there for the taking, the MP Motorsport driver threw everything he could at trying to find a way by.

Absolutely glued to Richelmi’s car during the closing stages, Quaife-Hobbs managed to make the breakthrough at the end of the penultimate tour to edge ahead into eighth position – importantly sealing the coveted pole spot for Saturday’s race.

With light rain in the air ahead of round eight, there was some uncertainty as to whether the race would be affected but the precipitation didn’t worsen so the entire 30 lap encounter took place on slick tyres.

Quaife-Hobbs launched away from the line well to maintain his place at the front and he scorched into a strong early lead from points leader Coletti. Although quickly coming under pressure from the Monegasque driver, the MP Motorsport racer looked assured but Coletti benefited from a great run through the tunnel on lap three to shoot past on the inside into the Nouvelle Chicane.

Although Coletti initially pulled well clear as Quaife-Hobbs had to focus on the pressure from Mitch Evans behind, the Briton did close back in to the leader midway through but the order remained unchanged to the finish.

De Jong, meanwhile, maintained 10th position off the start and shadowed Richelmi lap after lap as a big train of cars built up behind the Monaco native. By lap 13, the group had caught eighth placed Sam Bird and three laps later Richelmi and De Jong made their way past. Running in ninth, De Jong initially lost some ground to his rival but closed back in to finish a mere 0.6 seconds shy at the flag.

“It really has been an intensive weekend for the team, everyone worked so hard to improve the car after qualifying but to take our first podium with Adrian is much more than we expected”, said team principal Sander Dorsman.

“Adrian and Daniël both did a really great job in the races, it’s great for them both to have scored points this weekend. Being on the podium in Monaco is really special. We now focus on the next round at Silverstone at the end of next month. Being a new GP2 team we are still learning and improving and we are sure we can perform stronger in Silverstone.”

Rounds nine and 10 of the 2013 GP2 Series will take place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the UK on 29th/30th June, running as support to the British Grand Prix.

2013 GP2 Series Driver Standings (after Rd8):
11th Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, 23pts; 23rd Daniël De Jong, 1pt

2013 GP2 Series Team Standings (after Rd8):
10th MP Motorsport, 24pts

Photo by Paolo Pellegrini / Web-Agency Motorsport Images

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs opened his 2013 points-scoring account with seventh and eighth places in the second round of the GP2 Series at the Sakhir circuit this weekend. Posting competitive lap times in both races, the Tonbridge racer led for ten of Saturday’s 32 laps and finished top rookie amid a fiercely competitive 26-car field.

Arriving at the Bahraini circuit for the first time on Friday, Quaife-Hobbs’ first task was exploring MP Motorsport’s 600bhp, four-litre V8 Mecachrome Dallara’s limits, while also learning the new track. Unable to find a good balance in practice, he nevertheless headed into qualifying later that day intent on improvement. A scintillating first sector on his flying lap indicated the form for a top five grid position, however a rare mistake later in the lap thwarted his efforts, nevertheless netting the eighth fastest time.

Opting for the harder compound tyres for Saturday’s opening race Quaife-Hobbs was immediately gifted the bonus of Marcus Ericsson stalling on the dummy grid, relegating him to a pit lane start, and allowing Quaife-Hobbs a slightly clearer getaway at the lights. A solid start allowed the BRDC Superstar to place sixth into turn one, although he dropped to seventh at the second corner.

The last of the hard tyre-shod drivers to stop for his compulsory tyre stop, Quaife-Hobbs moved into the lead on lap 12 before pitting for softer rubber, ten laps later. Rejoining the track, the 22 year-old enjoyed a frantic battle for eighth with Simon Trummer and Tom Dillmann, a position that earns pole on the reverse grid for Sunday’s sprint race, eventually finishing seventh at the flag.

Sunday’s race proved equally exciting for the reigning AutoGP World Series Champion. A front row start looked hopeful of providing a debut podium, and a great start allowed Quaife-Hobbs to slot in behind polesitter Dillmann off the line.

Moving to the outside at the entry to turn one Quaife-Hobbs had a tentative look at taking the lead, however he out-braked himself on the exit allowing Sam Bird and Stefano Coletti by. Dropping a further place on lap two, the series debutant thereafter drove a strong race to lead a fierce five-car battle for fifth despite struggling with worsening oversteer. As his tyre degradation also worsened in the latter stages of the race, he dropped three places to the flag, but managed to hold off a charging Fabio Leimer, winner of race one.

“It’s been a fairly positive weekend here in Bahrain, and I’m pretty happy to get two points-scoring finishes,” said Adrian. “Practice didn’t go as well as I’d have liked, however qualifying more than made up for that. I had a great start to my flying lap, but I made a small mistake which cost me a top four or five grid position.

“In the opening race we opted for a different strategy, starting on the harder tyres, so holding station was the best we could have hoped for. After the stop I managed to chase down Trummer and enjoyed a good battle with him and I felt we could have caught Sam (Bird) but the tyres went off.

“In race two, naturally we were hoping for a lot. I made a good start, and me and Dillmann managed to pull away into the first corner. I tried to take the lead around the outside, but I out-braked myself and lost a few places. I started to struggle with oversteer, which got worse and worse as the race went on, and for the last eight laps I had virtually no grip.

“When James (Calado) got past me, I lost momentum which allowed the other two past, however I’m pleased to have kept Leimer behind me. I think we’ve made a massive leap forward and I think we’ve shown we have the pace to run at the front in qualifying and in the races. These are good results to build on for the coming races and I’m very much looking forward to the next rounds, where I hope we can continue our learning curve.”

The GP2 Series now heads into its European leg, with the next round in three weeks time, over the weekend of 11 & 12 May in Barcelona.

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com and www.manormpmotorsport.net with live twitter feeds.

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs - Bahrain GP2Adrian Quaife-Hobbs delivered two excellent race performances in Bahrain over the weekend, 20th/21st April, during the second event of the 2013 GP2 Series – the category rookie securing his, and MP Motorsport’s, first points in the FIA Formula One World Championship support category.

Marking a huge step forward for the Westmaas-based squad and the British rookie, seventh position in the weekend’s opening ‘pit-stop’ race at the Sakhir circuit on Saturday and eighth in Sunday’s fourth round hoisted MP Motorsport into ninth place in the entrant standings.

Dutch team-mate Daniël De Jong’s weekend was compromised from the start by a tough qualifying session and this was compounded by a gear-related problem at the beginning of race one, which led to an enforced retirement to the pits.

Traced to an issue with the steering wheel, the team fitted a replacement for Sunday’s ‘Sprint Race’ where De Jong fought through impressively from the back of the 26 car grid and concluded the encounter in 18th position.

“It’s been a great weekend overall for the team with Adrian’s two results, but we’re obviously really disappointed for Daniël”, said MP Motorsport team principal Sander Dorsman, “We changed some parts when he pitted but, in the end, it appeared to be the steering wheel so we replaced that for race two and everything was fine then.

“For Adrian, it was a really strong weekend and he showed great pace. His qualifying was good and in race one, we managed to make our strategy of going long into the race work well. In the last laps on the soft tyres he did a really great job too, it’s great to have our first points in GP2.”

While De Jong had the bitter disappointment of a swift retirement from round three, Quaife-Hobbs benefited before the lights went out when Marcus Ericsson encountered problems and so the MP Motorsport racer effectively started from seventh place. He had qualified a superb eighth, just 0.4 seconds off the front row.

Getting away well, the Briton moved into the top six on the outside of the first turn but was elbowed back to seventh at turn three. Moving back into sixth on lap eight, Quaife-Hobbs continued to gain places during the next few laps as more and more drivers took their mandatory tyre-change stops.

At one third distance, the MP Motorsport driver had the lead of the race and looked after his hard compound Pirellis impressively all the way to his pit-stop with 11 laps remaining. Emerging back out at the tail of the top 10, Quaife-Hobbs worked his way into eighth and closed down the cars ahead with some superb laps.

Making the most of his fresher soft tyres, he closed down Simon Trummer for seventh and made the place his at the end of lap 28. During the closing stages Tom Dillmann, who also passed Trummer, piled on the pressure but Quaife-Hobbs held firm to claim a fantastic result.

With the finish securing a second place start for round four on the ‘reverse grid’, Quaife-Hobbs fought valiantly throughout but had to give best to some of the more experienced GP2 competitors and took a nonetheless strong eighth place finish to bag his second points score of the weekend.

De Jong, lining up on the back row after Saturday’s retirement, made a great start and climbed into 18th position early on before being edged back outside the top 20. Into the final stages, the Dutch youngster broke back into 19th place and took 18th before the finish.

Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, will host rounds five and six of the 2013 GP2 Series three weeks from now on 11th/12th May.

Photo by Paolo Pellegrini / Web-Agency Motorsport

Adrian Quaife-HobbsBriton Adrian Quaife-Hobbs made his long-awaited GP2 race debut in Sepang this weekend, which also marked his first appearance at the Kuala Lumpur track. After strong testing performances at the end of last year, the new BRDC Superstar headed to the opening round with high hopes of a strong performance on his first race outing with MP Motorsport.

Overcoming the extreme temperatures and humidity of Malaysia, the 22 year-old took to the track for the first time for free practice on Friday, and spent much of the session acclimatising to the circuit and his new car. Initially unhappy with the balance of the 600bhp, four-litre, V8 Mecachrome-engined Dallara, Adrian pitted to make some improvements, but was subsequently unable to capitalise on the tyres when they were at their peak.

“Practice was OK,” said Adrian. “But it’s a brand new track for me and it was important to learn the circuit. I wasn’t too happy with the balance of the car on the first lap, so we made some changes, which made it slightly more driveable however we just weren’t able to get the best out of the tyres when they were at their peak.”

With the competition this year extremely close, qualifying proved a close-run affair, with the top 16 covered by just one second at the flag. As in free practice, the reigning AutoGP World Series Champion had struggled to get heat into his tyres, and posted the 15th fastest time, although this was later promoted to 14th when a penalty was awarded to another driver.

“Qualifying was very close,” confirmed Adrian. “I knew the competition would be fierce this season, but the problem with the tyres really didn’t help, and I was struggling to get any heat into them. Despite that I guess P15 was quite good considering what we were up against.”

Saturday morning’s opening 31-lap race didn’t go entirely to plan for the BRDC Fairfield Trophy winner however. Lining up on row seven, Adrian suffered with a clutch problem off the line, which dropped him down the order. After two laps, he had caught up to team-mate Daniel de Jong, but on lap three the pair tangled at turn 15, causing instant retirement for them both, and resulting in a five place grid penalty for race two for Adrian.

“I had a problem at the start with the clutch, dropping me down the order, which was a shame as we had a good strategy with the tyres. On lap three, I was definitely faster than my team-mate; he’d previously looked like he was going to let me by in the braking zone, so I went to overtake him at turn 15 and we collided, Adrian explained.”

On Sunday, starting from the back row, Adrian made a better start, to hold position. A strong opening pace allowed Adrian to gain eight places, before getting stuck behind another car. With evidently more speed, but with less traction, Adrian was unable to find a way past, and crossed the line in P17 at the end of 21 laps.

Adrian concluded: “Naturally it’s disappointing not to get the results or have the speed we hoped for after a strong test outing last year and the promise of a good performance in pre-season testing in Spain. However I had a good few laps in race two, steadily moving up the order until I got held up behind another car, I just couldn’t get past him though as I couldn’t get traction, just lots of wheelspin.

“Looking ahead to Bahrain though, I’m confident we know what the problems were here, so hopefully we can address those before the next round and come out fighting.”

The next round of GP2 Series takes place in four weeks time, over the weekend of 19-21 April, in Sakhir, Bahrain.

For more information visit www.quaifehobbs.com and follow the latest news and live timings on www.gp2series.com and www.manormpmotorsport.net with live twitter feeds.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAutoGP World Series Champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has confirmed his plans to contest the 2013 GP2 Series with Dutch team MP Motorsport.

The BRDC Fairfield Trophy winner joined Team Principal Sander Dorsman, key team personnel, and teammate Daniel de Jong at the official launch at the team’s base in Westmaas, south Holland, where the team also houses its Formula Renault 2.0 and AutoGP outfits.

Twenty-two year-old Quaife-Hobbs will get his first taste of the team’s 600bhp 4-litre V8 Mecachrome-engined Dallara in a three-day test at Jerez, Spain, which starts next Tuesday 26 February.

“I’m delighted to finally be able to announce my plans for 2013, which have been a long time coming,” said Adrian. “I’ve raced against MP Motorsport in AutoGP and naturally I know many of the personnel who came over from the Coloni team, so I’m looking forward to working with them all again.

“We had a very good finish to 2012, with two strong performances in GP2 testing, so I cannot see why we can’t build on those results as we head into the first of two pre-season tests in Spain. Looking ahead to the season, naturally I have to aim to win, as all drivers do, although I appreciate it’s going to be a tough challenge. The competition is always strong in GP2 and I’m sure this year will be no exception.”

Quaife-Hobbs is one of Britain’s brightest motor racing prospects, dominating the renamed AutoGP World Series last year to become the only driver in the series history to take five race wins in one season, three consecutive pole positions and three successive race wins. The Tonbridge racer notched up ten podiums and six pole positions and clinched the title with two races still remaining. Alongside the drivers’ championship, he was also crowned Under-21 champion and helped steer Super Nova to the teams’ title.

The MP Motorsport team was launched in 1995 and entered the European and Benelux Formula Ford Championships where it had many successes. In 2003, the squad progressed to Formula Renault 2.0 and since then has been a major player on the European Formula Renault 2.0 scene. Alongside Eurocup and NEC Formula Renault 2.0, MP Motorsport entered the AutoGP Championship in 2012 and finished second in only its first season.

GP2 begins its ninth season with a calendar spread over 11 rounds, alongside Formula One, starting in Malaysia on Sunday 24 March and finishing in Abu Dhabi in November. Since 2005 the GP2 Series has firmly established itself as one of the premier one-make racing championships in the world, with almost half the 2010 F1 grid formed from former GP2 racers.

In 2013 Quaife-Hobbs will also visit some of the top European circuits including a one-off appearance at his home track of Silverstone for the British Formula One Grand Prix over the weekend of 28-30 June. The full 2013 GP2 Series calendar is: 22-24 March, Sepang, Malaysia; 19-21 April, Sakhir, Bahrain; 10-12 May, Barcelona, Spain; 24-26 May, Monte Carlo, Monaco; 28-30 June, Silverstone, Great-Britain; 05-07 July, Germany, TBC; 26-28 July, Budapest, Hungary; 23-25 August, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium; 06-08 September, Monza, Italy; 20-22 September, Singapore, Singapore; 01-03 November, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAutoGP World Series Champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has had his outstanding performance in 2012 recognised with the Fairfield Trophy at the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) awards presentation in London today.

Presented at the Connaught Rooms, Great Queen Street, London, by John Surtees OBE, Adrian was among motor racing’s elite, as he was honoured for his debut season in the series, in which he won five races, scored ten podium finishes and secured six pole positions. Alongside clinching the drivers’ championship with two rounds still remaining, Adrian was also crowned Under-21 champion and helped steer Super Nova International to the teams’ title.

“It is a huge honour to be awarded the BRDC Fairfield Trophy for outstanding achievement,” said Adrian. “I’ve had an amazing season in AutoGP World Series, racing with undoubtedly one of the best single seater teams in the world.”

“Winning the double in Portugal was without question the highlight of my season, in what has been a very special year, and to have those performances recognised is a privilege and immensely rewarding.”

Adrian enjoyed a dream start to the 2012 season, with a debut pole position in Monza, which he followed with victory and third place in the opening two rounds. A second successive pole spot, together with victory and second in Valencia, extended his series lead.

A fifth consecutive podium finish in Marrakesh, together with fourth place, put the 21 year-old on course as title favourite. While in Budapest, Adrian continued his domination with another victory and second place.

However, it was the following race that proved the highlight of the former Marussia F1 test driver’s 2012 season. In Portimao Adrian had the perfect weekend; pole position, double victory and two fastest laps to break the record for the most AutoGP wins by a driver in one season and firmly cement his title challenge.

Starting the penultimate event in Curitiba, with his fifth pole position, Adrian was looking secure in second place until a problem pit stop dropped him to sixth. However his season-long pace was enough to secure him the title, despite not finishing the final race of the weekend.

Notching up his sixth pole position from seven rounds at Sonoma, Adrian went on to record his tenth podium finish of the season in the final double-header rounds, and recovered from being taken out of the lead at turn two in the first race, to finish his final race of the year in second place.

The BRDC Fairfield Trophy in awarded in honour of Pat Fairfield, a British driver who lost his life in a crash at Le Mans in 1937, and is presented annually to a BRDC member for outstanding performance in a season. Previous recipients of the prestigious awards have been David Brabham, Anthony Davidson and Paul di Resta.

Adrian now heads to Spain, when he is charged with shaking down the 2013 specification AutoGP World Series car at a two-day test in Barcelona on 6&7 December.