QUALIFYING MYSTERY DENIES MATT AT BRANDS HATCH


Matt Parry recorded another trio of top ten finishes as the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain returned to Brands Hatch in support of the DTM touring car series.

Although one of his results was subsequently taken away for a rules infringement, the 17-year old was happy to have backed up the improvement he showed in the previous round, at Zandvoort, especially after a disappointing qualifying performance.

Pre-race testing on the short Brands Hatch Indy layout had underlined the progress Parry has made through the 2011 season, with the Fluid Motorsport Developments Van Diemen driver lapping on a par with the more experienced series frontrunners, but Friday’s qualifying session saw the Cardiff native lining up only tenth on the grid for the weekend’s three races.

“We don’t really know why we were so far back,” Parry lamented, “We were definitely on the pace two weeks ago, so the only thing we can think of is that we under-estimated how much difference the DTM rubber would make to the track. The car was very skittish at the rear, but we know we are quicker than some of the cars lining up ahead of us.”

The Indy layout is notorious for being difficult to pass on, but Parry was determined to atone for qualifying and, even after a poor getaway to race one, not helped by starting so far back on the infamous sloping Brands Hatch grid, the AirAsia Team Lotus Development Programme driver remained feisty.

He eventually took the chequered flag in seventh place in Saturday’s race, but any joy was soon tempered by news that he had passed one of his rivals under the yellow flag at Clearways, earning himself an exclusion. The result, however, instilled greater confidence for the remaining races, with the entire Fluid team buoyed by setting the second fastest lap, ahead of the pacesetting Mygales.

Sunday’s two outings proved that Parry’s climb through the field was genuine, as he overcame another slow getaway to rise from twelfth to sixth in the morning encounter. Although a couple of places were gained at the misfortune of others, the Fluid Van Diemen also came out on top of a place-swapping encounter with Tristan Mingay’s JTR before catching and passing the Jamun entry of returnee Chrissy Palmer three laps from home.

The afternoon race, which followed the DTM showpiece, also resulted in a seventh place finish, this time helped by the gain of three places on lap two. From there, Parry found himself in a typical Indy circuit queue before eventually overcoming Dan de Zille with a handful of laps to run.

“In overall terms, I suppose it was a solid weekend,” Parry reasoned, “but I can’t help coming away thinking that, had it not been for the problem in qualifying, we could have achieved the podium target we had set ourselves at the beginning of the season. We had hoped to be running regularly in fourth or fifth place by the end of the Eurocup, and we proved that at Zandvoort, so it’s a little disappointing not to have got closer to the front here.

“However, there is still a lot of positives to take away from Brands, especially our pace in race one and the racecraft that we showed in each of the three races. Missing the yellow flag in Saturday’s race was unfortunate, just one of those things, and shouldn’t detract from the general performance.

“I think, especially after another strong test, that we can go to Donington Park in three weeks’ time with reasonable expectations.”

The seventh Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain triple-header takes place at Donington Park over the weekend of 24-25 September, where it rejoins the British F3 and GT series.

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.