Rising star Matthew Parry made an exciting start to his international kart racing career, but had to fight hard to cement a top four finish in the inaugural RGMMC Rotax Winter Cup event at Campillos in Spain.

Taking the opportunity to continue his graduation to the Junior Rotax class with a warm weather outing close to Malaga, the Bury St Edmunds youngster was one of three Britons in a 24-strong multi-national field preparing for a season in the Rotax Euro Challenge.

The five-day event allowed for plenty of track time, with the first two-and-a-half days of practice followed by the usual blend of heats, pre-final and final, and the Britons quickly marked themselves out among the drivers to beat. Right on the pace in practice, however, Parry could not carry his form over to the important timed session on Friday afternoon, and ended the day a disappointed tenth fastest.

That performance had repercussions for Saturday’s heats, with the Paul Carr Racing driver having to start from the outside of row five in each of his three races, with the quick first corner not favouring those on the even-numbered side of the grid.

“My inexperience worked against me,” Parry commented, “Racing in Europe is so different to racing at home, and you really only have one lap on the tyres to set your time. You have to scrub your tyres in, find a gap and then go for it, and I just didn’t get it right this time. However, it is something I will learn from and work on for the rest of the season.”

If Parry thought that his qualifying performance was disappointing, it was nothing compared to his first two heats, which were both marked by heavy, kart-damaging accidents at turn one. His first ever European race ended with bent steering, trackrods, axle and chassis, while the incident in heat two resulted in the mechanical warning flag being shown, requiring a pit-stop that dropped the PCR kart to the rear of the field and out of contention for a strong result.

The third heat finally provided some encouragement as Parry made up a couple of places to finish in the top eight, but he already knew that he would have to fight his way through the field in the Pre-Final if he was to stand a chance of a good result in the main event.

Showing the sort of form that he had displayed on home soil in 2008, the teenager carved his way up the order, eventually recovering to eleventh place and securing himself an inside grid slot for the Winter Cup finale.

He was not done there though, and produced another charging performance in the main event, claiming a further seven scalps as he homed in on the podium. Clearly enjoying the near 1600m circuit, with its blend of long straights, fast turns and technical sections, Parry recorded the fastest lap as he rose as high as fourth by the time the chequered flag fell, earning clerk of the course Nigel Edwards vote as ‘racer of the meeting’ and completing a strong showing from the Brits, behind the more experienced Edward Brand and Josh Webster, who finished first and third respectively.

“I’m delighted to finish fourth in my first international event – especially after the first two heats,” Parry admitted, “It’s a good benchmark for the rest of the season, and a useful introduction to racing in Europe. Congratulations to Ed and Josh – it’s good to see British drivers at the front of the field. I hope it continues, even if the main Challenge series is likely to be stronger than the Winter Cup.”


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.