TOUGH WEEKEND AT SPA



Matt Parry’s torrid start to the 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup continued into round two at Spa-Francorchamps, leaving the Welshman with just a single point to show for his efforts.

Looking to bounce back after a somewhat hesitant start to the season in Spain, Parry was anticipating an improvement at Spa, one of his favourite circuits and the scene of one of his five Formula Renault NEC wins last year, but again found himself on the back foot even before qualifying had got underway.

“The car felt better, with more grip than it had at Aragon, but I got caught out at turn seven and backed it into the wall,” a frustrated Parry sighed, “While there wasn’t a huge amount of damage, I only had three laps on the board and was playing catch-up from that point on!”

Despite the set-back, the reigning Formula Renault NEC champion was still able to show signs of the pre-season form that had made him one of the favourites for the 2014 Eurocup crown, but the close nature of competition in the series ensured that what seemed promising times in qualifying were repeatedly turned into eighth or ninth places in his qualifying group, still with just a matter of tenths separating the green Caterham-supported car from top spot.

Starting from the middle of the grid usually spells trouble at Spa, but Parry’s opening race ended abruptly due to technical problems rather than an accident. Stranded by a broken throttle stop on the long straight between Radillon and Les Combes, the 20-year old Fortec Motorsport driver could only watch as his rivals added to their point totals.

With two races at every World Series by Renault weekend, Parry was hoping for a change of fortune on Sunday but, after holding down second place in his group for some time, again found himself relegated to row eight by a flurry of improvements from the drivers behind him.

“After the woeful start to the weekend in race one, I was really hoping to turn things around in second qualifying, but I think I misplayed the strategy,” the Sport Wales ambassador admitted, “Others obviously kept something in their tyres for the last few minutes and there was nothing I could do as they improved their times.”

Race two, however, allowed Parry to show glimpses of his potential as, despite his lowly starting position, he quickly fought his way into contention for points, gaining eight places to run as high as tenth, embroiled in a battle with Aragon racewinner Andrea Pizzitola before crossing the line in eleventh spot.

“I’ve never had to work so hard over a weekend to gain just a single point,” the reigning McLaren Autosport BRDC Driver of the Year commented, “It was a good battle with Pizzitola, and that went some way to making up for my early exit on Saturday, but the points return is not what I was looking for after the mixed start we had in Spain.

“It’s a disappointing start to the year with four races down. We’re still struggling to get the best out of the car, and I’m a little confused as to why our pre-season pace appears to have disappeared, but I’ll keep working and focusing on finding the key that will unlock its potential. I know that I can compete with the guys at the front of the field, and am sure that I’ll get the chance to do that before too long.”

Round three of the 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup takes place at Moscow Raceway in Russia – an entirely new venue to Parry - over the weekend of 28-29 June.

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.