MATT DOMINATES AT THE 'RING


Matt Parry produced a impressive front-running display to claim his first victories in Formula Renault and strengthen his lead in the Northern European Championship at the Nurburgring.

The Fortec Motorsport star started the weekend strongly, shrugging off the lack of any previous dry running on the German Grand Prix circuit to again out-perform the various Formula Renault Eurocup drivers using the event as a final warm-up for their opening round in Spain next weekend.

With only two races making up the second round of the NEC, qualifying took on extra significance for the 37 entrants at the Nurburgring. Having built up his pace over two practice sessions, Parry again defied his rookie status to claim second and first places in his qualifying group, proving that his double pole at Hockenheim a fortnight earlier was no fluke as he emerged as the best of the eleven Fortec runners that again included reigning NEC champion Jake Dennis.

“At Hockenheim, I think I may have had a slight advantage over the Eurocup boys as the NEC entrants had an official test at the circuit the week before the opening round,” the Caterham Racing Academy driver admitted, “However, this weekend, there was no such advantage as, with no dry testing, it was a blank canvas for all of us, so I was especially pleased to be at the front of the grid again.”

Parry – who was featured on BBC2’s Sport Wales programme in the build-up to the weekend - would start his green-and-yellow car from third on the grid for the weekend’s opening race, but a blinding start vaulted him into the lead as the field negotiated the tricky opening complex. Once in front, he was never challenged, maintaining a comfortable advantage of around a second over Eurocup regular Esteban Ocon throughout the 13 laps and claiming his maiden Formula Renault victory in only his fourth race.

“This is such a relief,” Parry said as he took the top step of the podium, “With the Eurocup boys here, I wasn't sure how I would fare on race pace, but I think I've proved to myself that I can compete at the highest level. The start was very important and, once I hit the front, I was able to control things. I was aware that Ocon was in my mirrors, but he was never close enough to threaten unless I made a mistake – and I didn’t!”

Race two, later in the day, was a similar story for the reigning Intersteps champion, who this time started from his third pole position of the season.

Another good getaway saw Parry able to stay out of harm’s way through the curling series of corners that start the lap and, as he had in the morning, he was quickly able to extend an advantage over the chasing pack. This time, it was Eurocup entry Gustav Malja who kept the Sport Wales-backed driver honest, but he struggled in vain to close the one-second gap as the Parry controlled the race from the front and claimed his second maximum score of the weekend.

“Winning once this weekend would have been great, but to win both races is beyond expectation,” the Welshman concluded, “This is a strong field and the racing is very competitive, so I’m delighted with how things have gone. Fortec provided me with the perfect car, and it was just a question of making the most of it. I’m now looking forward to the rest of the season with increased confidence and can’t wait to get back on track.”

With no third race, which will be the norm at most NEC events this season, Parry’s dominance has allowed him to open a comfortable points advantage over his nearest rivals, with Ocon and Fortec stable-mate Mikko Pakari currently second and third in the table, but unlikely to contest every round due to their Eurocup commitments. As a result, Parry’s advantage could be in excess of 35 points over his regular rivals as the NEC series heads to ‘home soil’, at Silverstone, over the weekend of 1-2 June.

Watch Matt in action at the Nurburgring here

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.