Quaife Hobbs doubles up after Portimao AutoGP race 2

Sunday 3 June is a day that Adrian Quaife-Hobbs won’t forget easily: the young Briton of Supernova won the second race of the Portimão Auto GP weekend starting from P8 and doing so he clinched a perfect weekend taking pole position, both race wins and both fastest laps. The fifth win of his season is another championship record secured by the driver from Kent, and the “hat-trick” is also an absolute premiere for the Series: thanks to this weekend’s results Quaife Hobbs added 48 points to his tally, bringing his advantage on the closest rival to 73 points.

It was an eventful race right from the beginning: at the start poleman Chris Van der Drift was passed by team mate Daniel de Jong, while Quaife-Hobbs was quick-off the line and made the most of a bad start from Pål Varhaug and Sergey Sirotkin to pass them, then overtaking also Victor Guerin for P5 and following Facu Regalia and Sergio Campana into Turn 1. By the end of lap 1 the championship leader had already passed the Italian, while Van der Drift was the new race leader after overtaking de Jong on the main straight. Lap 1 also saw a collision between Varhaug and Sirotkin and while the Russian managed to rejoin, the Virtuosi UK driver spun and had to retire after his car came to an halt.

Deeming that the #7 Lola was in a dangerous position the Race Direction deployed the Safety-Car on lap 2, but when the race restarted two laps later another accident happened when Juan Carlos Sistos outbraked himself and crashed into Guerin, taking both drivers out of the race (the Mexican was handed a 5 position penalty on the grid of the next Auto GP race he will contest). In order to remove the cars the Safety-Car was deployed again and most of the teams opted for serving their mandatory pit-stops in the caution period as soon as the pit-lane was open. At the second restart, on lap 8, Quaife-Hobbs made the most of the slipstream to overtake both de Jong and Van der Drift in one move, while Sirotkin climbed to P3 after that a good pit-stop by the Euronova crew did put him in the right position to attack de Jong.

From then on Quaife-Hobbs stretched his lead lap after lap, posting the fastest laptime of the race on lap 11 and then crossing the line with a 5” advantage on Van der Drift.

The kiwi of MP Motorsport was the only driver of the grid to start on a set of new soft Kumhos but his late pit-stop strategy was spoilt by the Safety-Cars. Despite being forced to pit early he could still post a great performance, fending off Sergey Sirotkin’s attacks all race long: the gap between Chris and the young Russian remained under the 1” mark for nearly the whole race, but despite that the Euronova driver never had a real chance to pass because Van der Drift’s driving was flawless. In the last two laps Sirotkin even backed off in order not to put too much stress on his tyres, settling for a third place that was an amazing result considering that at the end of lap 1 he was just P12.

Sergio Campana was fourth for MLR71 after a consistent performance that saw him pass both de Jong and Regalia on track. Facu ended the race in fifth place behind the Italian, while de Jong had to settle for P7 after being slowed down by a piece of astroturf that remained stuck to his front wing and altered his car’s balance. Giancarlo Serenelli took sixth place thanks to a good start and a consistent pace, while Max Snegirev was 8th after a great battle with Antonio Spavone, who finished P9 ahead of Francesco Dracone.

Portimao, 3 June 2012, Race 2

1 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS Supernova International, 18 laps in 31:19.348, avg 160.38 kph 2 Chris VAN DER DRIFT Manor MP Motorsport +5.451 3 Sergey SIROTKIN Euronova Racing +6.921 4 Sergio CAMPANA MLR 71 +12.555 5 Facu REGALIA Campos Racing +16.861 6 Giancarlo SERENELLI Ombra Racing +20.147 7 Daniel DE JONG Manor MP Motorsport +22.012 8 Max SNEGIREV Campos Racing +23.482 9 Antonio SPAVONE Euronova Racing +23.910 10 Francesco DRACONE Virtuosi UK +24.750 11 Michele LA ROSA MLR 71 +39.844 NC Sten PENTUS Zele Racing NC Juan Carlos SISTOS Zele Racing NC Victor GUERIN Supernova International NC Pal VARHAUG Virtuosi UK NC Giuseppe CIPRIANI Campos Racing

Fastest Lap Lap 11 by Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS Supernova International, 1:35.783 avg 174.88kph

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