ONWARD AND UPWARD FOR MATT AT ZANDVOORT


Formula Ford rookie Matt Parry continued to make steady progress along his single-seater learning curve by twice equalling his best UK championship result as the series reconvened alongside the fourth and final Eurocup outing at Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

Running at another current or former F1 circuit, Parry also showed further aplomb in wet conditions, as he recorded a brace of fourth place finishes among his Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain rivals, where the junior single-seater class supported the prestigious F3 Masters event in persistent rain at the seaside venue.

Although he had not tested at Zandvoort prior to the triple-header Eurocup meeting, the Welshman quickly adapted to the circuit despite the conditions, but was then frustrated by a red flag stoppage which interrupted qualifying just as he was getting into his stride. Although his times before the flag came out promised a decent set of grid positions, Parry found himself thwarted by traffic in the few laps that remained once the session resumed and, as others improved their best efforts, slipped back to 13th position. It was a mark of his misfortune, however, that his second and third fastest laps – used to determine the grid for races two and three – would see the Fluid Motorsport Developments Van Diemen line up ninth and eighth respectively.

Race one, early on Saturday’s programme, was equally disappointing, as a rookie error saw Parry end his race before being able to overturn his lowly grid slot. The 17-year old accepted full responsibility for the mistake, knowing that he had missed a chance to kick-start his British series points tally.

“It was entirely my fault,” he conceded, having wound up in one of Zandvoort’s unforgiving gravel traps, “I went into the Audi Esses too fast, locked up and hit one of the cars in front of me. That was it – race over! It is particularly frustrating because we knew that we deserved to have been higher up the grid, and the pace in the car was really good.”

That pace was evident in race two later in the day, when Parry was able to lap with the frontrunners, none of whom were able to break away at the head of the field. The British championship regulars proved to have the upper hand over their European rivals, scooping four of the top five positions, with Parry’s race good enough for fifth overall, and fourth among the UK series contenders, equalling his previous best from Snetterton in May.

The third and final race, which served as the warm-up for the blue riband F3 Masters final on Sunday, was also held in full wet conditions, and, this time, the ‘home’ contingent produced a tactical turn-around, using their circuit knowledge to find a set-up that trumped the ‘visitors’ from the UK. While the locals dominated at the front, the British contenders again scrapped amongst themselves, with Parry making up one spot over his grid position to hang onto the coat-tails of his main rivals, finishing seventh on the road, and again taking strong points for another fourth place UK series finish.

“Before the season started, I think a lot of people expected the front of the field to be dominated by the Mygales and Rays, but this weekend should reinforce the view that Fluid and Van Diemen are right up there, even with a first-year driver,” Parry observed, “The car is coming good now, and we are beginning to get the sort of top five results – in amongst the Mygales - that we had targeted for the middle of the season.

“The goal now has to be to get onto the podium. We have come close on a few occasions, both at Snetterton and here at Zandvoort, and I am looking forward to the next couple of circuits on the calendar. We have already tested at both Brands Hatch and Donington Park, and have gone well at both, so I have a huge degree of confidence going into September. I’ve driven the Indy circuit at Brands in both Formula Ford and Formula Renault and, with better luck than we had at the June meeting on the GP circuit there, I am sure we can show well again.”

The sixth Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain triple-header takes place at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 3-4 September, supporting the visiting DTM touring car series, with the trip to the resurrected Donington Park circuit following three weeks later.

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.