Matt Parry reminded the Formula Renault Eurocup field that he can be a podium contender for the remainder of the 2014 season after an improved showing at the Hungaroring returned the Briton to the top five.

The series burst back into action after a two-month hiatus and it was immediately clear that Parry’s Fortec Motorsport team had been doing its homework in the break, with each of its drivers producing a more confident performance throughout the weekend.

Seventh in group after his practice session, Parry moved up a couple of places in qualifying for race one but, with the large field split in two, that still meant the Briton would start on the fifth row for Saturday’s event. Undeterred by the Hungaroring’s reputation as a circuit where passing is all but impossible, the outgoing Formula Renault NEC champion was quickly on the move, picking up three positions in the opening laps to put himself in the mix for a top five finish before a minor error under braking for the tricky turn one saw the green #7 machine spin through 360 degrees and drop away from the pack.

“It was only a small mistake, but that corner doesn’t allow for errors of any kind,” Parry sighed, having rejoined in twelfth position, “It was a shame because I was confident of making up more places as the race went on, but the spin dropped me out of the battle and left me playing catch-up, which proved difficult in the remaining laps.”

Although the result was largely unrepresentative of Parry’s potential, his performance in the race ensured that he went into day two of the meeting in optimistic mood. Sunday dawned wet after overnight showers, but the Welshman’s confidence was reflected in another improvement in qualifying, where he took fourth in group and seventh on the grid. A good start then vaulted the Caterham Racing Academy protégé into an early battle for fifth place with Nyck de Vries, and his pressure eventually paid off as the new FR ALPS champion conceded the position shortly after a safety car period.

From then on, Parry’s sights were set firmly on Gustav Malja and, having closed in on the Swede, the pair proceeded to run wheel-to-wheel for some time, providing exciting footage for the international television feed. Although Parry ultimately had to settle for fifth place, he still came home ahead of expected frontrunners de Vries, fellow championship contender Dennis Olsen and Andrea Pizzitola, giving his points tally a welcome boost with two rounds to run.

“That was better!,” Parry exclaimed, having been somewhat unique in making progress through the field, “It’s easy to see the improvements that the team has made over the past few weeks, and it was great to be battling with the likes of de Vries and Malja this weekend.

“I was a little disappointed after Saturday’s race as the result didn’t reflect our potential, but fifth here – especially with three of Fortec’s cars running at the front – suggests that we have turned the corner and will be right in the hunt for the rest of the year. It’s definitely the most competitive I have felt this season and I’m already looking forward to the next race weekend.”

The reigning McLaren Autosport BRDC Driver of the Year has just over a week to wait until the next round of the Eurocup and heads to Paul Ricard confident that he can mount a similar challenge and pick up the points that will vault him up the championship table.

“The drivers immediately above me in the standings are all closely bunched, so it will only take a couple of good results to put me in contention for the top five overall,” Parry insisted, “If we can continue the progress we have made here – and there is certainly more to come from both myself and the car – I’m sure we can achieve that aim over the final couple of rounds.”

Round six of the 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup takes place at Paul Ricard, in the south of France, over the weekend of over 27-28 September.


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.