Matt Parry’s maiden single-seater campaign received a welcome boost ahead of the Formula Ford Eurocup weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, when Sport Wales finally confirmed that it would be adding the youngster to its roster of elite talent.

Cardiff-born Parry stepped up to Formula Ford after several successful seasons in karting, which netted two national titles, as well as fourth in the RGMMC Rotax Euroseries and second in the Rotax World Finals, and has already been recognised as a potential star of the future by both the UK motorsport press and the Team Lotus F1 operation, which made him the lone British member of the AirAsia Team Lotus Driver Development Programme.

The support, which comes via the Elite Cymru scheme, is purely financial and was awarded on the recommendation of the Welsh Association of Motor Clubs. Arranged through the Williams Harfield Sports Group, the backing will help with the cost of competing on both the UK and European fronts with Fluid Motorsport Developments and Van Diemen in 2011.

However, the onus will now be on Parry to meet minimum agreed performance standards, determined by both Sport Wales and the National Governing Body, and continue to progress his career in a positive manner.

“It’s great news that Sport Wales has recognised my potential and decided to back me in my efforts to climb the motorsport ladder,” Parry commented, “Obviously, it has helped being among the few Welsh drivers making the headlines, but I am honoured to have been included on the Elite Cymru scheme along with some of the biggest names in Welsh sport. The support will make a big difference to my season, and I will do everything I can to justify Sport Wales’ faith in me and continue to progress in the junior formulae.”

Ironically, the first race weekend to follow the announcement proved to be one of the most frustrating of Parry’s young career, as he was twice denied the opportunity to challenge for the podium at Spa-Francorchamps.

Defying unpredictable weather conditions to confirm the promising performance he had shown in testing at the Belgian Grand Prix venue, the 17-year old qualified strongly and finally appeared to be a threat to the established frontrunners. Right from the start of race one, he latched on to the lead group, shuffling up and down the order as the sextet indulged in a typical Formula Ford battle. At one point in contention for a podium position, Parry eventually found himself back in sixth place, but was thoroughly encouraged by his performance.

Sadly, the rest of the weekend was not to go his way. Despite knowing that he was competitive enough to contend for the silverware, Parry found himself shunted out of race two at the very first turn, and then had a similar mishap at the Bus Stop chicane on the opening lap of race three, both times remaining entirely blameless for the contact. He demonstrated his fighting spirit by recovering from the back of the field to finish 14th in the third and final race, still on the lead lap but with his times showing the effect of damage sustained in the collision.

“I am extremely frustrated not to have been allowed to show the sort of performance our test and qualifying pace hinted at but, at the same time, I know that we are now ready to step up to the next level,” a phlegmatic Parry noted, “I just need to convince the middle order that I am now up and past them and perhaps then they’ll give me the sort of respect they show to the leaders…..”

With the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain in the midst of an eight-week break before returning to action at Zandvoort in Holland in August, Parry will continue to gain experience by tackling the second leg of the Eurocup’s Belgian double-header, at former F1 venue Zolder, this coming weekend [16-17 July].


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.