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Quaife-Hobbs rues feature race error

27 March 2013

It wasn't the most auspicious start to his GP2 Series career for MP Motorsport's Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, after he managed to tangle with team mate Daniël de Jong put them both out of the feature race at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this weekend.

The incident came just three laps into Quaife-Hobbs' début feature race in the feeder series, when the two cars aimed at the same piece of track going into turn 15.

“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," explained Quaife-Hobbs, who moved into GP2 after winning the 2012 Auto GP World Series championship.

"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," he explained.

The race stewards deemed Quaife-Hobbs to blame for the collision that put both MP Motorport cars out of the running and handed him a grid penalty for Sunday's sprint race - although given his early retirement from the feature race had left him starting well down the running order for the sprint, the nominal five place drop was in effect more a matter of protocol than any real penalty.

Quaife-Hobbs made up eight places early in the Sunday race but then came up against intractable opposition n the form of ART's Daniel Abt, whose defending held Quaife-Hobbs in 17th place through to the end of the 21-lap sprint, leaving the British racer frustrated with how the weekend had gone as a whole.

"I had a good few laps in race two, steadily moving up the order until I got held up behind another car," he said. "I just couldn't get past him though as I couldn't get traction, just lots of wheelspin.

"Naturally it's disappointing not to get the results or have the speed we hoped for after a strong test outing," said the 22-year-old. "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."

After being taken out by the collision with his team mate in the feature race, Daniël de Jong started slightly higher than Quaife-Hobbs on Sunday but his progress stalled in 14th place. Both drivers will be hoping for better fortunes at the next round of the 2013 GP2 Series, at Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain on April 19-21.

"I'm sure Bahrain will be better for the team," said team principal Sander Dorsman. "Both guys had good speed in race two, it's always difficult starting so far back but they both did a good job.

“We have to be realistic, GP2 is so competitive and there are so many experienced teams so it takes time to be as competitive as some of those guys," he added. "I'm happy Sunday was a lot better than Saturday though - everyone is learning a lot."

It was MP Motorsport's first race in GP2, after the Dutch team took over from Scuderia Coloni at the end of the 2012 season.


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