MAIDEN PODIUM IN MOSCOW



Matt Parry kick-started his 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup campaign with a brace of top four finishes – including a maiden visit to the podium – in round three of the series at Moscow Raceway.

Looking to make up for lost time after a frustrating start to the season, the Welshman was boosted by a set-up change that transformed the performance of his Fortec Motorsport entry and, despite not having driven the Russian circuit before, he was in the thick of the fight for leading positions from the start of testing. The potential really began to show in qualifying, however, as Parry lapped just a couple of tenths off the pace in his group on Saturday morning. That gap, in the competitive world of the Formula Renault Eurocup, meant that he was restricted to fourth position, which became a place on row three when the stewards dealt with a couple of drivers further up the grid.

“It was such a relief to be at the right end of the group when the flag came down,” Parry commented, having seen similarly-promising qualifying efforts come to nought in earlier races, “Although I’d have liked to have been on the front row, it was clear that the car had taken a big step forward after a lot of work from the team, and would be a contender on raceday”

A good start to race one allowed Parry and the Caterham Racing Academy-supported #7 machine to take advantage of some scuffling on the opening lap, moving the 20-year old into fourth spot. From then on, however, the racing proved to be a little pedestrian, with Parry able to hold on to his position, without ever being able to close the gap to third-placed Anthoine Hubert. Although fourth spot was already an improvement on the Briton’s previous best result in the series, a jump-start penalty for Hubert made it even better, as Parry was promoted to third position and his first podium of the year.

“I would probably have been happy with fourth after the way the season started, so to make it onto the podium was a bonus,” the Sport Wales ambassador admitted, “Luck hasn’t exactly been on my side so far this year, so I guess this was a case of things evening out a little. I got a great start, and was able to pick up a couple of places at the end of the lap but, after that, it was just a question of keeping my concentration – and position – to the end.”

Qualifying for race two on Sunday morning confirmed the progress Parry and the Fortec team had made, with the Briton securing a place on row two of the grid after lapping just 0.092secs off the pace. Again, Group B had the marginally less favourable track conditions, leaving Parry fourth overall, but there was to be no repeat of his Saturday getaway, leaving the reigning McLaren Autosport BRDC Driver of the Year to run just outside of the podium positions. Once again, the closely-matched pace of the leaders, allied to the nature of the Moscow circuit, allowed Parry to remain comfortably out of reach of the drivers behind, but equally unable to close the gap to third.

“It would have been asking a lot to benefit from another penalty,” the youngster joked, “I was able to keep third place in sight for the entire 18 laps, but just couldn’t bridge the gap to make a challenge for the podium. Despite that, I would happily have taken third and fourth positions from the two races this weekend – and only the two race winners scored more points than I did, so I’ve closed the gap to the top of the championship.

“I’ve said before that I can compete with the drivers at the top of the standings and this has gone some way to proving that point. I’ll be looking for more of the same over the remaining four events and see where we are at the end of the year.”

Round four of the 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup takes place at the Nurburgring in Germany – another venue where Parry has won in Formula Renault - over the weekend of 12-13 July.

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.