DOUBLE GOLD AT SILVERSTONE


Matt Parry extended his advantage in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup standings with success in both legs of the series’ latest double-header on home soil at Silverstone

The Welshman came into the event on the back of an impressive, if ultimately unrewarded, performance at the stand-alone Pau Grand Prix, and with an NEC points lead bolstered by two victories at the Nurburgring in late April, and, without the inclusion of the Eurocup runners – who had their own event in Belgium – started the weekend as strong favourite for success.

Despite being edged out of top spot in Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions, Parry knew that there was more to come from both himself and his Fortec Motorsport-run car with two races to follow on Saturday and Sunday, as the NEC supported the Blancpain Endurance Series and AutoGP on the full Silverstone Grand Prix layout.

“I made a couple of mistakes on my best laps in each qualifying session,” the Caterham Racing Academy protégé confided, “That’s all it takes to cost a position or two in this series, and my British team-mate was able to take advantage of it this time. There was definitely more speed there…”

Lining up second on the grid in glorious conditions for Saturday’s race, Parry made a bid for the lead heading into the first corner but, despite being rebuffed, remained close enough through the quick Becketts section to be able to launch a more successful assault at Stowe. His timing proved fortuitous as an accident further back in the pack brought out the safety car – but not before the green-and-yellow #30 machine had completed its passing move.

The timed race remained neutralised for three further laps and, when it finally resumed, just 16 minutes remained for Parry to hold on to his lead. The 19-year old responded confidently, not only setting the fastest lap of the race immediately after the restart to see off the challenge from second place, but opening out an advantage of around five seconds to ensure that he secured a third successive NEC victory.

“I thought there may be a chance to take the lead at the start, but had to wait until a little further round the lap to make it stick,” Parry confirmed, “I was a little concerned that it may have come after the safety car boards appeared, but the team said it was fine, so I just got my head down once the race restarted. Fortunately, I was able to pull a gap over second place and, when he came under pressure, I was able to concentrate on getting to the finish.”

With his closest rival in the points heading to Silverstone only finishing third, Sport Wales-backed Parry was able to extend his advantage by ten overnight, knowing that a similar scenario lay ahead on Sunday morning.

Despite again starting from second on the grid in race two, this time he was not to be denied on the run to Copse, and was already leading as the field exited the opening turn. Although poleman Jack Aitken was able to match the Welshman’s pace – the pair being the only ones to regularly lap under two minutes as they pulled away from the chasing pack - the gap between them grew to nearly a full second before Parry took the chequered flag by seven lengths at the front of another British and Fortec 1-2.

“It was great racing with Jack as there was no let up at all,” the winner reported, “Although I managed to get the jump at the start, he kept me on my toes and focused all the way to the end. Overall, I’m pleased with my performance this weekend – it’s always nice to win in front of your supporters, but I’m already looking forward to Spa…. ”

With four victories and six podium appearances from seven NEC races under his belt, Parry’s championship advantage has now stretched to 88 points over his nearest rival as the series embarks on an eight-week ‘summer break’ before reconvening for back-to-back weekends at Spa-Francorchamps and Assen in late July/early August.

Watch footage of the Silverstone event here

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.