Despite a maiden podium finish continuing to elude him, Matt Parry confirmed his ongoing progress as a single-seater racer by claiming fastest lap in tricky conditions as the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain returned to Donington Park.

The Welshman had hoped to be in the mix for a top three finish after promising pre-race testing performances saw him lapping amongst the frontrunners, but another below par qualifying session restricted him to the lower reaches of the top ten, and with a little work to do in each of the weekend’s three outings.

“It’s frustrating to have struggled in qualifying again,” Parry sighed, “It was the same at Brands Hatch, as we had the pace at the start of the session but then it tailed off. When we were able to pick it up again at the end, it was too late to improve.”

Instead of being on the tail of the leading quartet, the 17-year old found himself starting on rows four and five, with a group of slower cars between him and a respectable finishing position, but remained confident that he could make up places during the three twelve-lap encounters on the former F1 circuit.

Despite overcast conditions, the Donington circuit remained dry for race one on Saturday afternoon, but Parry compounded his disappointing qualifying position by making a poor start from eighth on the grid and had only managed to regain his starting spot by the end of the opening lap. Although he quickly disposed of Luke Williams, the multiple kart champion found further progress a little harder to come by until benefiting from a clash between two of his rivals to vault into fifth spot, which he maintained to the flag.

Race two, on Sunday morning, was a similar story, with Parry initially struggling to get away from the outside of row five, but then quickly making up a handful of places to sit in eighth at the end of the opening lap. From there, Williams again proved the next obstacle, running ahead of the Fluid Van Diemen for several laps, before his eventual retirement handed Parry seventh position in an otherwise pedestrian race.

Having shown his overtaking ability in the dry, however, Parry’s best was still to come – and in the trickiest of conditions as a lunch-time downpour left the circuit wet for the third and final Formula Ford race of the weekend.

The AirAsia Team Lotus Driver Development Programme prospect needed to be on top of his game as another lacklustre getaway dropped him as low as 13th off the line but, having regained much of the lost ground into turn one at Redgate, he was up to seventh by the end of the lap.

Already renowned for his wet-weather ability from his karting days, Parry this time continued to make progress, picking off Neil Alberico on lap two, catching and passing Dan de Zille three laps later, and then disposing of Antti Buri on lap nine to move into fourth spot. However, despite closing the gap to third-placed Nick McBride over the remaining couple of laps, it proved too big to bridge in the time remaining, and the Van Diemen driver had to settle for another fourth-place finish.

The clear track between Parry and McBride did at least allow the Briton a chance to pick up his pace, resulting in him setting the fastest lap of the race – his first such accolade of 2011.

“Although the podium continues to elude us, it was great to show that we had the pace to run with the top three,” Parry said afterwards, “I’ve always enjoyed racing in the wet and, after learning a few new lines to account for the conditions, we were finally able to show what the Fluid Van Diemen could do.

“Once again, however, I made life hard for myself by qualifying and starting poorly, and I will go away from Donington with the goal of working specifically on those two areas. There is just one triple-header round left this season, and I’m determined to achieve our goal of reaching the podium at Silverstone next month.”

The Donington Park results lifted Parry into seventh position in the overall standings, the Welshman now the leading non-Mygale driver.

“Congratulations to Scott Malvern on taking the title this year,” Parry concluded, “He has been the class of the field all season and put his experience to good use at almost every round.”

The eighth and final Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain triple-header takes place on the new Silverstone grand prix layout over the weekend of 8-9 October.


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.