FINE LINES AT THE NURBURGRING


Matt Parry was again reminded of the slim margins that divide success from disappointment in motorsport as fate once again decided that he should endure a frustrating weekend in the Formula Renault Eurocup.

Returning to the scene of his double victory in last season’s Formula Renault NEC competition, Parry was confident of building on his recent Moscow podium at the fabled Nurburgring, and finished the opening day of practice in optimistic mood after lapping just a tenth off the pace across the two sessions. That margin, however, was enough to leave the Briton in seventh spot overall, underlining the parity of this year’s Eurocup field and emphasising the work that needed to be done in qualifying and the two races that followed.

With the 31-car field split into two groups for qualifying, Parry moved up to fourth in his section, securing seventh on the grid for race one despite the weather turning typically wet in the Eifel region.

“The conditions were far from ideal and made sure we all had to concentrate a lot harder on the job at hand,” the 20-year remarked, “Again, the gaps between times were tight and, going another tenth or two quicker would have made the difference between starting on row four and row two….”

Having shown his fighting qualities already this season, Parry was sure he could make up positions in the race and, despite the weather again proving inclement, looked set to move forward almost immediately as he harried Russia’s Levin Amweg for sixth position from the start. Unfortunately, despite having appeared to complete a clean move on his rival, Parry was the victim of contact from behind, spinning his #7 Fortec Motorsport entry down the order and leaving it in need of attention in the pits.

“I don’t really know what happened, except that I was hit at the rear of my car after I’d made the move into sixth place,” the Caterham Racing Academy protégé sighed, “It’s particularly frustrating as my car was really fast in the wet, and I am sure I could have continued to make more progress through the course of the race. It’s just typical of the sort of luck I am having this season, but shows how fine the margins are between success and failure.”

Parry was again on the wrong side of the line in qualifying for race two, as the persistently damp conditions again made the session something of a lottery and left the #7 car back in eighth place where, once again, a matter of tenths would have made all the difference. With the other qualifying group enjoying marginally better track conditions, Parry’s position would translate to 16th on the grid, leaving him with a lot of work to do before making it into the serious point-scoring places.

Despite that, the Sport Wales ambassador felt confident that he would be able to make up places once the race got underway, but his expected charge in wet conditions was ultimately negated by niggling mechanical issues that slowed his progress and left him an unrepresentative 14th at the flag.

“That was an opportunity missed,” Parry claimed later, “Once again, the car felt fast in the conditions, but I wasn’t able to make the most of it as we ran into a few problems as the race went on which prevented me from making up any more positions.”

The reigning McLaren Autosport BRDC Driver of the Year now has nine weeks to mull over the first half of the season as the Renault World Series takes its summer break, but remains optimistic of making up ground in the championship when the Eurocup resumes in Hungary in mid-September.

“Although our luck and results haven’t been the best in the opening four rounds, the gaps to the drivers immediately ahead of me in the standings remain small,” Parry insisted, “Another weekend like we had in Moscow would be good enough to make up a few spots and that has to be my focus for the rest of the year. I know that I am good enough to be a regular on the podium in this series and I’ll be looking for more silverware when we return from the summer break.”

Round five of the 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup takes place at the Hungaroring, close to Budapest over the weekend of 13-14 September.

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.