Super Nova keep up title challenge

18:21 27 April 2012

The Old Buckenham-based Virtuoso UK team poised for action in Marrakech.

The Old Buckenham-based Virtuoso UK team poised for action in Marrakech.

PHOTO 4

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs maintained his Auto GP World Series lead after two hard fought races in Marrakech, Morocco which yielded a second and fourth place for Norfolk’s Super Nova International team.

The weekend didn’t start as the Griston squad had hoped with Quaife-Hobbs qualifying in fifth place with team-mate Victor Guerin three places behind.

“I am sure that we have the pace to move up the order tomorrow and we all look forward to the race now,” was the opinion of team principal David Sears after qualifying.

He was to be proved right. Quaife-Hobbs quickly moved into third place in the opening race and pitted early for new tyres, which he hoped would allow him to close down the leaders and make a bid for victory, which only narrowly failed.

“After a good pit stop I pushed in clean air before coming across some slower cars which, for me, is where the race was defined,” reflected Quaife-Hobbs. “Antonio Spavone used some unusual defensive techniques which cost me a lot of time and when I caught Sergio Campana I spent the last few laps trying to find a way past to win but he had more (engine) power boots remaining and every time I got alongside him he could come back past.”

Sadly for Guerin his race ended early after spinning, and stalling, at the first corner on lap three.

Starting race two in seventh place Quaife-Hobbs quickly made up a position before taking an early pit stop which put him on the tail of Pal Varhaug and at the chicane on the final lap he dived inside his rival in an attempt to snatch third place.

In the following melee Giacomo Ricci nipped past the Super Nova car to snatch the final podium place while Guerin was just behind after an impressive race from the rear of the grid, which included breaking his front wing in a clash with Giancarlo Serenelli.

Varhaug, who had to cut the chicane, was given a 25-second penalty which dropped the Norwegian leader of Old Buckenham team Virtuosi UK down to seventh – complete with bodywork from another car wedged under his.

In the opening race Varhaug made a storming start to take the lead but, while holding a comfortable advantage, he managed to stall his car during his mandatory pit stop, losing a certain victory, before resuming in third place.

Francesco Dracone raced to tenth place in the opening race for the Old Buckenham squad before improving to eighth in the second event.

Alex Brundle heads into the opening race in the GP3 series after a strong pre-race test at Silverstone where the King’s Lynn racer demonstrated front running pace.

In the first session he finished up sixth quickest with his second day ruined by red flag stoppages while on new tyres and was therefore unable to set a competitive time leaving him a frustrated 14th on the timesheets.

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