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Tag: Adrian Quaife-Hobbs

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAutoGP World Series Champion Adrian Quaife-Hobbs completed around 115 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this week (30&31 October), finishing the final GP2 Series session on Wednesday afternoon with the second fastest time.

Running with the Barwa Addax Team, Quaife-Hobbs quickly acclimatised to the 600bhp powerhouse on the opening day, consistently lapping within half a second of the front runners, to finish seventh in both sessions.

In cool but dry conditions at the Spanish track, Quaife-Hobbs was among a 27-car line-up contesting the first of two post-season tests, and was one of several rookie drivers taking part. In both sessions on Tuesday, the former Formula Renault and GP3 race winner was fastest of the newcomers.

The 21 year-old, who dominated the 2012 AutoGP season to win the title with two rounds remaining, resumed track activity on Wednesday, when track conditions were severely hampered by heavy rainfall. Despite that, the Tonbridge racer was immediately on the pace, running second in the morning session before a red flag period ended his charge, dropping him to sixth at the conclusion of the session.

Later that day, Quaife-Hobbs returned to fine form, running in the top half a dozen for much of the session, before a scintillating lap allowed him to jump to second, on only his first flying lap on new rubber. With the red flag thrown once again, bringing the session to a premature close, Quaife-Hobbs was unable to challenge for the overall fastest time, however remained confident of being able to improve further.

“On the first day there were a lot of red flags but I was reasonably happy with seventh and being top rookie’ said Adrian. “I used two sets of tyres in the morning and only one in the afternoon, on my first lap on new rubber I set the fastest first sector of everyone but then the red flag was thrown and at the restart the best of the tyres had gone.

“The second day was very wet, we waited for a while hoping it would dry up, but by 11am it was obvious it wasn’t going to improve, so we headed out and straight away I was second fastest. I pitted for new tyres and waited for it dry but the red flag came out again and I ended up sixth. During the lunch break the track started to dry so I did a few runs on old tyres to make a few tweaks to improve the balance.

“When I went out on new tyres, I went straight out and posted the second fastest time. I never got to use the second set as the red flag came out once again, but I’m pretty sure I could have improved by around half a second as I know there was more time to be found.

“The Barwa Addax Team was very good, I felt very comfortable with them right from the start and I think they were happy with me too. Hopefully we can have another good outing in three weeks time with the next two-day GP2 test.”

Adrian will next take to the track in the final post-season GP2 test, which takes place at Jerez, Spain driving for Arden. Bringing his 2012 season to a close, the AutoGP World Series Champion will then undertake shake down testing of the 2013 specification AutoGP car at a two-day test in Barcelona on 6&7 December.

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.

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs will head across the pond for the two remaining rounds of the AutoGP World Series on 22&23 September with his sights set firmly on adding victory to his impressive tally. The host venue, the Sonoma circuit in California, is largely unknown to all the drivers in the series, but the 2012 Champion has already overcome this hurdle several times this season, and relishes the challenge ahead.

On his AutoGP debut in Monza in March, Quaife-Hobbs sealed the best possible start to his 2012 season, setting the immediate pace on Italian soil with his maiden series pole position. His first podium wasn’t long in coming either, with a stellar run to victory in the opening race; a further five race wins, four pole positions, and a total of nine podium finishes, crowned him champion with two rounds still remaining.

The 21 year-old will be aiming to emulate that form aboard the SuperNova International Zytek V8-engined Lola next weekend as he comes out of a nine-week break since the last double-header round in Brazil.

Having proved his potential with such strong performances across Europe, Africa and South America, the Tonbridge racer is ready to put the summer break and his resultant extensive training programme to good use with nothing less than victory as his goal.

Although the driver’s title is already wrapped up in favour of the British Racing Drivers’ Club member, Quaife-Hobbs is determined to help assist SuperNova International in adding the team’s crown to his successes, in which it currently holds a 45 point advantage.

“I’m really looking forward to racing in America, as it will be my first time there and naturally I go out as Champion but still with expectations of bringing home two more victories to add to the tally. We have had a great pace all season and I have no reason to expect the Sonoma rounds to be any different, however I appreciate it’s not always possible.

“The SuperNova International team has provided me with a superb car all season and we have a great base set-up from which to work. With two half hour practice sessions ahead of qualifying, we should hopefully be able to just tune in to the track and hit the ground running.

“There are a few new drivers into the series for the final rounds, but our objective will remain the same as ever, we don’t look at the competition, we just work together to get the best out of the car, and this has worked for us all season. Aside from my own personal desire to win the final two rounds, I am also naturally very keen to help the team secure the team’s championship.

“After a lengthy break since Brazil, it will be good to get back on track and although it’s in the USA where temperatures are quite likely much hotter than here, I don’t envisage it being much different to Europe at the height of summer, and hopefully my extensive training programme will help me to overcome any possible problems on that front.“

The action at Sonoma starts on Friday, 21 September, with two free practice sessions at 11.00 and 15.30 (local time). Qualifying will take place at 09.45 on Saturday, 22 September, followed by the first race at 13.20. Sunday will host the remaining round at 14.35.

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Adrian Quaife-HobbsBriton Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has won the 2012 AutoGP Championship with two races still remaining. Displaying a dominant performance in both free practice sessions and qualifying, the 21 year-old topped the times in all three, to net his fifth pole position in the series.

In the races, the Tonbridge racer was unable to add to his tally of five previous victories. However such has been his dominance in the 14-race series, the former Formula Renault and GP3 racer cannot be beaten regardless of his results in the final rounds at Sonama, California in September.

Once again Quaife-Hobbs proved the pacesetter in practice to serve notice of his intention to take the title for Supernova Racing. Powering the Zytek V8-engined Lola to a record three consecutive AutoGP pole positions, Quaife-Hobbs knew he just had to finish ahead of nearest title rival Pal Varhaug, however the former T-Cars Champion still wanted to finish his season on a high.

Lining up on the front row for race one, the BRDC Member didn’t get the best of starts, dropping down to fourth, but a strong opening lap soon saw him back up into third place, and quickly pushing for second. At the mandatory pit stop for fresh tyres however, his chances of securing another podium were ended with a problem replacing the right rear wheel, which cost him valuable time and eventually netted sixth at the flag.

On the top eight reverse grid, he lined up on the second row for race two and a lightening start allowed him to leapfrog the front-row starters and take the lead. For 19 laps, Quaife-Hobbs was the class of the field, gradually extending his advantage over the field ahead of his mandatory tyre stop. With race victory in his sights though, and in an otherwise faultless race, he missed the braking point on the entry to the pits, clipping the grass and hitting the tyre barrier, his race over.

“Naturally I’m very happy to have won the series, with two rounds remaining, but I really wanted to win the series with a race victory,” said Adrian. “Our pace in practice and qualifying showed that once again we were more than capable of doing that, but for a number of problems, we were denied that in race one.

“In the second race, everything was going really well but I just misjudged the braking on the entry to the pit lane.”

The final rounds of the AutoGP series, championship previously won by Lotus F1 racer Romain Grosjean, will take place at Sonama, USA, over the weekend of 22&23 September.

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Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs completed a ‘perfect weekend’ with pole position, double victory and two fastest laps in the latest rounds of AutoGP World Series at Portimao this weekend. The 21 year-old also broke the record for the most AutoGP wins by a driver in one season to secure another series first, and extends his series lead to 73 points.

The Tonbridge racer had started the weekend in the best possible way, setting a searing pace in testing at the Portuguese track in official practice on Thursday. The Supernova driver then cemented his fine form in qualifying, powering his 550bhp, Zytek V8-engined Lola to his fourth pole position of the series, for the first of two races to be held on Saturday.

Starting race one on a set of used Kumho tyres, Adrian didn’t have the best of starts but over the course of the opening lap, was able to slipstream his way past the leader, to retake the lead. Thereafter a controlled drive allowed Quaife-Hobbs to pull away to a six second lead before the mandatory pit-stops.

After all the pit stops had been completed and the race order settled down, the former GP3 racer extended his lead to nine seconds, and with the fastest lap to his credit, to take a comfortable fourth win of the year.

Race two on Sunday morning saw no such start-line dramas for the Briton, despite starting from eighth place on the reversed top-eight grid. By the end of lap one the charging Quaife-Hobbs was already up into fifth place, gaining two places off the line and claiming another position into the first corner.

An incident on lap two saw the safety car called into play to retrieve the stricken car of Pål Varhaug and almost as soon as the race had restarted two laps later, it was again brought under the control of the safety car by another incident. This did not distract Quaife-Hobbs however, and like several others he elected to make the most of the opportunity to serve his compulsory pit stop as soon as the pitlane opened, exiting in third place.

At the restart, Adrian made the most of the slipstream to pass two cars in one stunning overtaking manoeuvre, to claim the lead. Over the remaining laps, Quaife-Hobbs was comfortably the quickest driver on track, posting the fastest lap of the race as he stretched his advantage to five seconds at the flag.

“What a perfect weekend this has been, it feels great,” said Adrian. “Without question this is the best racing weekend of my life and one that will stay with me forever.

“I was surprised by the outcome of the start of race one. I didn’t even use the overboost because I felt that my start was a really good one, and when I looked in the mirrors I didn’t see Regalia, and the others behind were far enough to feel safe.

“Then Facu (Regalia) appeared on my right and there was nothing I could do. Anyway I managed to pass him one lap later and I soon realised that the strategy of starting on soft tyres was paying off. We were quicker than our rivals on mediums and we managed nine laps without getting any graining, so it was just perfect. We could have gone longer with our pit-stop but as both Pål (Varhaug) and Sergey (Sirotkin) had already done theirs earlier we decided to pit and not waste our gap in case of a safety car. It is difficult to rank your wins, but I think that we did a really good race.

“Race two really was a dream result and brought the weekend to a perfect conclusion. I said before the weekend that was my aim, and it all worked out to plan. It’s tough naturally starting from eighth to get that second race win, but I made a great start and was able to make the most of the safety car periods and another great stop by the Supernova team.”

The next round of AutoGP World Series will take place at the Curitiba circuit in Brazil on 22nd July, marking Adrian’s first visit to South America.

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Adrian Quaife-HobbsBriton Adrian Quaife-Hobbs continued a dominant performance in the AutoGP World Series with victory and second place in the latest rounds in Budapest, Hungary on 5&6 May. His stunning pace in both races, in which he posted the fastest lap in both, has allowed him to extend his series lead to 43 points.

The 21 year-old set the pace in both free practice sessions on Friday, before notching up a third pole position in qualifying later that day, for the opening round on Saturday. Although his victory in race one ultimately proved dominant, the Tonbridge racer bringing his SuperNova Zytek V8-engined Lola home 29 seconds ahead of his team-mate, the start was not as straightforward as he would have liked.

At the lights both Quaife-Hobbs and his team-mate struggled with wheelspin and were passed by Pål Varhaug and Sergey Sirotkin, the latter arriving at Turn 1 far too quickly and running wide, forcing Adrian slightly off line. This allowed Varhaug to take the lead, but Sirotkin responded, reclaiming the position at Turn 2.

The pair continued their battle for the lead with Quaife-Hobbs keeping a watching brief, and when the duo collided at the last corner of the opening lap, Adrian was in prime position and wasted no time in seizing the place. His dominant pace over the course of the race was impressive, extending his advantage to more than 20 seconds before the mandatory pit stop on lap 15.

Rejoining the track still in the lead, he was thereafter never headed, as he consistently posted the fastest lap to take a convincing third victory – his sixth podium finish from seven rounds.

Sunday’s race saw him take up eighth place on the reverse grid line-up and a superb start allowed him to overhaul three cars to head into turn one in fifth place. By the second corner he was up to fourth, in among a three-car battle for the runner-up spot.

A crash involving another car on lap two necessitated the deployment of the safety car and at the restart Adrian made a brilliant move to claim third place. For several laps the leading trio were locked in a three-way battle for position, until Varhaug and Quaife-Hobbs both found a way past the erstwhile race leader, Adrian getting the better exit from the last corner to gain second place on the inside of Turn 1.

From then on the battle for victory proved hard-fought with the duo never separated by less than a second. A superb pit stop by the SuperNova team on lap 14 brought Adrian out in super quick time, however an even better one by his rival allowed Varhaug to just hold on to the lead, exiting the pits by the smallest of margins.

Over the remaining five laps, Quaife-Hobbs continued to pile on the pressure, several times the pair running side-by-side as they jostled for position. On the penultimate lap, the relentless charge forced the Norwegian into a mistake, which allowed Adrian one final chance to wrest the lead. However Varhaug had overboost in reserve and gradually extended his advantage on the very last lap, Quaife-Hobbs crossing the line still just 0.8seconds behind.

“It’s been a good weekend overall and it’s great to come away with an extended series lead,” said Adrian. “The start in race one didn’t go entirely as planned; I’d practiced a couple of starts during the pre-grid and warm up laps and I saw that the grip was good, I had no wheelspin at all, so I thought that using a bit more throttle in the real start would have been good, but I was wrong and I had too much wheelspin.

“The start was the only bad moment of that race and I knew that my advantage was such that I could have passed both at the pit-stop, just staying out a couple of laps more than them if it was the case.

“Second place in race two after winning on Saturday isn’t bad, but at the same time I’m naturally disappointed because I came just 0”8 tenths shy of the perfect weekend. I had clinched the fastest lap time in each session, the fastest lap in both races, I won race one, so I was just missing this race two win to achieve something that had never been done before in the championship history.

“We came very close to making it, but Pål (Varhaug) held on well. It was good race, hard-fought but fair, I enjoyed it. I will always go for a win if there is a chance, I want to win races because I’m also sure that it’s the best way to secure the title. I’m not going to take stupid risks, that’s obvious, but I’ll never back off if I see that a win is possible.”

The next rounds of the 14-round series will take place at Portimao, Portugal over the weekend of 2&3 June.

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Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs took his fifth consecutive podium finish with second place in the opening round of the AutoGP World Series at Marrakech on Saturday. A close-fought fourth place in the second race on Sunday earns the Tonbridge racer a 29-point championship lead after six rounds.

Marking his first time at the African track, Quaife-Hobbs was quickly on the pace, posting the fastest time in the final practice ahead of Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. After starting well and looking good for a repeat of his pole starts of the opening two rounds, red flags proved troublesome for the BRDC Rising Star. Fastest in each individual sector, Adrian was nonetheless unable to capitalise on his pace, as three times his flying lap was ended prematurely relegating him to the third row for race one.

The opening race on Saturday was a nail-biting affair right to the flag, the young Briton losing out by only 0.186 of a second after five frantic wheel-to-wheel racing laps. The race started well for the 21 year-old, with a storming getaway putting him third off the line.

However the supersoft tyres quickly began to cause problems for Adrian, so another early pit stop strategy by the SuperNova team came on lap four. The team once again did a sterling job to turn the 550bhp, Zytek V8-engined Lola round quickly, allowing Adrian to resume in third place with the lead two drivers yet to stop for tyres.

By lap 13 all the field had taken their mandatory tyre change, but a slow stop for the early race leader Pal Varhaug saw him exit in third place, with Adrian now in a good position to challenge new leader Sergio Campana. The fight for victory proved highly entertaining with Quaife-Hobbs piling on the pressure over the final three laps. The pair went side-by-side several times, but without the benefit of overboost Adrian was just unable to make the move stick, trailing the eventual winner by less than two tenths of a second at the finish.

Race two had Quaife-Hobbs start from seventh, and by lap three he was up to sixth before making his pit stop a lap later. Rejoining in fifth place, Adrian was well-placed to take up the battle for the final podium spot, joining Varhaug and Giacomo Ricci in the fight for third place.

Ricci tried to pass Varhaug on lap 18, but had to back off which allowed Adrian to make the most of the opportunity, with a brilliant move around the outside at Turn 3. Steadily applying pressure to Varhaug at the last chicane on the final lap, Adrian eventually got on the inside, for third place.

They both braked as late as possible but Adrian locked up, pitching his car sideways and into the kerb, while Varhaug cut the chicane. Quaife-Hobbs consequently got a bad exit from the corner, allowing Ricci to pass him. Varhaug crossed the line in third place ahead of Ricci and Quaife-Hobbs, but after the race was penalised 25 seconds for cutting the chicane, dropping him to seventh and giving Adrian fourth.

“We knew that from fifth on the grid a good start was needed for any chance of a podium finish, and luckily I got away well,” said Adrian. “My first laps were difficult; we opted to start on very old tyres and that meant that I lost five seconds to Campana before my stop. Once I changed to new softs, I knew I really had to push. I did it, and if it wasn’t for Spavone, who made me lose at least a couple of seconds cutting the chicane when I had already gone through, I think that I would have gone past him when he pitted. Instead, I was right on his gearbox when he came out of the pit-lane.

“In the first couple of laps I tried to understand if he was leaving some gaps, but when I saw that he was struggling with traction I decided to attack. I tried as hard as I could without risking crashing and one time I did manage to get onto Sergio’s inside, but he had some power-boost to spare and was able to get ahead. I had used all mine in the first part of the race, and so there was nothing I could do.

“Race two was equally exciting particularly towards the end when I started to close on Varhaug. On the final lap I thought it was possible to get fourth, but I locked up and had a bad exit from the chicane allowing Ricci to get me. But overall it’s been a good weekend. I got the second biggest points haul from the weekend, we are only into the third event with four still to go, so I just want to concentrate on winning races. Everybody can still be a title contender at this stage, so winning is the best thing you can do to keep your rivals at bay.”

Quaife-Hobbs, who remains the only driver to have secured two series wins courtesy of victory in Monza and Valencia, will resume his bid for honours in Hungaroring, Hungary over the weekend of 5/6 May.

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Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs has extended his AutoGP World Series lead with an impressive victory in the second double-header round of the series in Valencia this weekend to take his fourth successive podium finish. Second place in the weekend’s opening race, from his second consecutive pole position, also extends the 21 year-old’s series lead to 21 points.

The Tonbridge racer set a searing pace in testing at the Spanish track on Thursday with the quickest lap, before posting the second fastest time in practice on Friday. The Super Nova racer then converted that to pole position in Saturday’s crucial qualifying to earn a front row start for the first of two 40-minute races.

As the field of 550bhp, Zytek V8-engined Lolas headed out onto the grid, tyre choice was to prove critical to the outcome of the race. Adrian’s original plan was to go out on a fresh set of medium tyres, but with his rivals opting for used soft tyres, the decision was taken to go the conservative route and follow suit.

However in the closing minutes prior to the formation lap, fellow front row driver Sergey Sirotkin, was able to make a late call and switch to medium tyres, giving him extra grip off the line and allowing him to get the jump on Adrian at the start.

With that advantage and despite Adrian’s best efforts to close down the gap over the opening laps of the race, it was left to the compulsory pit-stop to offer him any hope of clawing back the deficit. A superb stop by the Super Nova team, and a rapid in and out lap by the Briton did indeed allow him to reduce the gap from four and a half seconds to just one and half seconds.

A safety car period four laps from home helped to close the advantage. However with just one racing lap remaining when the race resumed, Adrian was unable to challenge for victory, crossing the line less than a second adrift, but extended his series lead.

In the weekend’s second race, which featured a reverse grid for the top eight in race one, Adrian lined up seventh. A lightening getaway allowed him to make up four places before the first corner and a superb pit-stop strategy early on meant he could make the most of his strong pace on a clear track.

Emerging from the mandatory pit stop in ninth place, Adrian quickly capitalised on the better tyres and started gaining a second a lap. After all the stops had been completed, he found himself in the lead by an amazing seven seconds, going on to take a well-deserved second series win.

“We were quick straight out of the box in testing, and in the first practice we ran on very used tyres, just bedding in the pads,” said Adrian. “In the second I was on the pace again, and so was really confident going into qualifying. However we’d never tried the new-spec soft tyres before and therefore we had some decisions to make but the Super Nova engineers got it right for pole position.

“In the race though, we didn’t quite get it right. I was supposed to go out on the fresh set of mediums, but then we saw that everybody, including Sergey, was on the used soft tyres. We decided to go conservative and do what the others did so we switched to the softs just before going to the grid but unfortunately it was the wrong choice. I think that was the turning point. With new tyres Sirotkin, on mediums, had much more grip than me at the start and in the opening laps, and that’s what made the difference.

“We managed to close the gap at the pit-stop, with a quick in and out lap and a superb job by the team, but the soft tyres in the extreme temperatures were wearing really quickly, so I didn’t have a real chance to fight.

“We definitely didn’t expect to be up in third at the first corner, but I made a great start. And as we’d committed to starting on old tyres, I stuck to my pre-race strategy, which was to come in early. After that I had a clear track and pushed like it was qualifying. It worked well because after the stops I’d built up a seven second gap but my only thought was to keep pushing as much as I could.

“We knew that a podium finish was possible but victory was more than we could have hoped for and was a welcome surprise. To have two pole positions, two wins, four podiums from four rounds, and leading the championship is a good place to be as we head into the next rounds in Morocco in two weeks time.”

The next round at Marrakech, Morocco will take place on 15th April, marking Adrian’s first visit to the African track.

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Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs enjoyed a dream start to the 2012 season, with victory and third place in the opening two rounds of the AutoGP World Series at Monza this weekend, to take his first ever single-seater double podium. The 21 year-old from Tonbridge, Kent, only confirmed his plans to contest the Italian rounds on Thursday, heading out to the historic Grand Prix circuit that evening.

In Friday’s two practice sessions, Adrian adjusted well to the 550bhp, V8 engined Lola to set the third fastest time in both. Later that day, after some fine-tuning to the Super Nova machine, Adrian quickly established himself as the pacesetter posting the fastest lap early in the session, before pitting for new tyres.

After inevitably briefly dropping down the order Adrian returned to the track and quickly regained the number one spot, improving by six tenths of a second to claim his maiden pole position in the revamped series, which visits three continents in 2012.

On Saturday Adrian made the best use of the prime grid spot to get the jump on the rest of the field in the weekend’s opening 14 lap race, and built up a healthy advantage by the midway point as they approached the pit-stop window. Stopping for the compulsory rear tyre change on lap eight, his first ever in competitive action, the team and Adrian performed a slick operation, to get him back on track still leading.

Thereafter, the BRDC Rising Star cruised to a comfortable victory, despite struggling with a niggling gearbox issue that had plagued him through qualifying, to take an early championship lead.

Sunday’s second race featured a reverse grid for the top eight finishers from race one, which resulted in a fourth row start for Adrian. A good getaway off the line allowed him to hold eighth into the first corner and by lap two he’d gained two places.

Entering the pits in sixth place, a sterling job by the team turned him round quickly, however with the leaders all pitting on the same lap, there was a short delay in rejoining, which saw Adrian unable to gain any places.

For three laps Adrian enjoyed a close-run five-car battle for position, until lap 11 when several cars collided, but in the ensuring chaos a controlled drive allowed him to pick his way through the debris and up into third place, which he held to the flag.

“Practice went really well, we continued the form from the previous week’s test and after finishing third in both sessions I was confident going into qualifying of a good result,” said Adrian. “We tweaked the car in between practice and qualifying and did a short opening stint to warm the tyres, which was good enough for P1. I pitted for new tyres and naturally lost the place momentarily and on my second run, I improved by six tenths to retake the pole, which was a great start to my first weekend in AutoGP, and a repeat of my pole here last year, in GP3.

“In the first race, I really didn’t have any idea how it would be starting in this car, as we naturally hadn’t had any time to test that prior to the race, but I made a perfect start to hold the lead into turn one. I managed to break the tow early on and build up a 2.5 second lead over the first three laps. However on the fourth lap, the gearbox problem we suffered earlier returned, which meant I was losing time in the first sector as I couldn’t change up quickly from first to second gear. So I had to really push hard on the rest of the lap to keep the advantage.

“Race two was far more eventful. I got a good start to hold position but didn’t have quite the same pace as I had the rest of the weekend. The team did a great job in the pit stop, changing the tyres very quickly, however we were in a train of five cars and all came in together so I had to be careful not to collide with them when we rejoined so we lost a little bit of time coming out.

“Despite that we were in a good position to be challenging for a podium finish and when a few cars ahead of me collided, I was in the right place to pick my way through and get third place. All in all it was a really good points haul and I’m very happy with the weekend and to be leading the championship.”

Adrian has now confirmed that he will contest the remaining rounds of the AutoGP World Series, with Supa Nova starting with the next round at Valencia, Spain on 1 April. The remaining rounds are: 15 April, Marrakech (Morocco); 6 May, Hungaroring (Hungary); 3 June, Portimao (Portugal); 22 July, Curitaba (Brazil); 23 September, Sonama (USA).

Adrian Quaife-HobbsAdrian Quaife-Hobbs successfully completed the Young Driver Test at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday at the wheel of Marussia Virgin Racing’s MVR-02 F1 car. The Tonbridge racer was rewarded for his performance this season in the sister Marussia Manor Racing GP3 team with the opportunity for a third test in the F1 car, completing 30 laps in the morning session, in temperatures of 25?C.

“I would like to say a very big thank you to Marussia Virgin Racing for this fantastic opportunity today,” said Adrian. “It’s been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot. This morning I began with some CSL (constant speed limiter) runs on the straights so the team could conduct some aero measurement work and then I got into the programme properly”.

“I ran two sets of new tyres and just began chipping away at the lap times as I learned more about the car and how it reacts. Overall I’m pleased with the day and it’s been a huge experience for me.”

The 20 year-old has already successfully tested twice for the John Booth-led F1 team, carrying out aero-testing at Idiada Proving Ground in Spain and RAF Cottesmore in Leicestershire, clocking up around 350km collectively.

However Tuesday’s test was more than just an appraisal of outright pace. The team had prepared a detailed evaluation programme designed to examine every aspect of a driver’s all-round potential, including decision-making, quality of feedback and an appreciation of engineering procedure.

The programme also facilitated the testing of 2012 developments, including gearbox and engine installation parts. John Booth, Team Principal of Marussia Virgin Racing was pleased with the performance of his GP3 racer Adrian, and fellow racer Charles Pic.

“Both Adrian and Charles followed a very similar programme, which was designed to ease them into circuit running in an F1 car,” said John. “We’re very happy with how both of them have performed today. Both used the Soft Pirelli tyre, with Adrian perhaps slightly disadvantaged by the track temperature and Charles by only using one new set.

“We specifically chose to use the same tyre compounds as used by the race drivers last weekend to give the drivers a better reference, rather than using the Supersoft compound which has clearly been shown to be the quicker tyre over one lap today. All in all, a good job from both drivers.”

Adrian will now conduct a testing programme over the coming weeks, including two days at Motorland, Aragon in a Formula Renault 3.5 car on 29/30 November, as the BRDC Rising Star continues to evaluate his options for 2012.

To watch the video from Yas Marina, please visit the Marussia Virgin Racing website at the following link: