Matt Parry took his points advantage in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup to over 100 points with a fifth win of the 2013 season at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday (27 July).

With his double success on home soil at Silverstone already a distant memory after an eight-week break in the schedule, the Welshman was determined to recapture the winning feeling, but knew that his ambition would be tempered by the most competitive field seen in the NEC for several rounds, thanks to the return of several Formula Renault Eurocup regulars, including podium visitor Oscar Tunjo and Andrea Pizzitola, who had already claimed victory during an early season appearance in the NEC.

With the grid for the weekend’s two races being set during a short qualifying session on Friday morning, the weather and track position would be crucial, but both counted against Parry as rain and traffic limited him to just a handful of flying laps around what became a 2min 41secs lap, leaving him third overall when the two groups were combined.

“I got a little caught out by my position in the queue, while the rain added around 20secs to the lap time,” Parry acknowledged, “On top of that, I didn’t produce the best of second sectors, so my time wasn’t as good as it could have been. However, I was confident that the Fortec car would be good for the races.”

The first of the two races took place just a matter of hours after qualifying had finished and, with the track having dried, the scene was set for Parry to show his true potential. With the front row getting away cleanly, however, the Caterham Racing Academy protégé had to bide his time, but found himself stuck behind Fortec team-mate Jack Aitken as Tunjo made good his escape. Aware of the potential damage a mis-timed move could have on his championship ambitions, Parry waited until the final lap before finally claiming second spot, extending his run of podium finishes to seven from eight outings.

“I had the pace to win, but didn’t have the track position,” Parry admitted, “With a healthy points advantage to maintain, and with Jack being my team-mate, discretion became the better part of valour until the last lap, but I couldn’t hold back when an opportunity arose to claim second place….”

With the NEC among the supporting events for the headlining Spa 24 Hours, race two took place early on Saturday morning, and the Ardennes had another surprise in store for the youngsters as threatening clouds hung over the circuit.

The start, however, came on a dry surface and Parry proved sufficiently awake to take advantage of a first lap collision between Tunjo and Aitken that eliminated the Colombian and left Aitken limping back to the pits. Once in front, and with no real challenge from behind, Parry again proved to be the class of the field, posting the fastest lap of the race as he built his advantage, then easing off as the conditions deteriorated in the closing stages, eventually bringing the green-and-yellow #30 machine home two seconds clear of Pizzitola to claim his fifth win in six races.

“I love coming to Spa – it’s a fantastic circuit and I think the NEC provided more entertaining and competitive racing, particularly with several Eurocup runners returning to the fray,” Sport Wales-backed Parry commented, “We definitely benefited from the team being here for the Eurocup meeting a few weeks ago, although things got a little tricky in the last couple of laps as rain began to fall at the rear of the circuit. However, it was great to be able to claim two podium finishes and, of course, another win to strengthen my points lead.”

With three race weekends remaining on his NEC schedule, Parry has extended his advantage over second-placed Aitken to 121 points, but there is little time for him to dwell on his achievement as the series reconvenes for round five at Assen in the Netherlands this coming weekend (3-4 August).


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.