With the 2011 Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain now in his mirrors, Matt Parry could be forgiven for thinking that his misfortune might go in the same direction, but quickly found that that was not the case.

The Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch gives the best in the category, and more, the chance to compete for one-off honours at the end of the year, without the pressure of championship points and positions to consider. The biggest task is to continue finishing towards the front of the field in each race, in order to secure a decent grid slot for the next outing - but this is where Parry's weekend suffered an early setback.

After improving throughout pre-event testing on the short Indy layout at Brands, the Welsh youngster went into qualifying hoping to give himself a decent platform from which to launch his assault. His times, however, were not as fast as expected and he found himself languishing down the order, even if the Festival's quirky heat system meant that he would still be able to start from row four in his first race.

A handful of places were quickly gained, and third position put under pressure, when second gear decided to go AWOL on the Fluid Motorsport Developments Van Diemen. Although Parry battled gamely on for a couple of laps, he was eventually forced to retire, denting his hopes for the rest of the weekend.

As it transpired, a jump start penalty would have set him back, albeit not as far down the quarter-final grid as the DNF, which left the 17-year old on the outside of row six and facing a tall order if he was to move up on a circuit which limits overtaking.

An eventful race, however, saw Parry survive two oil slicks laid by rivals cars and come home in seventh position, which he further improved to fifth in the course of the ensuing semi-final. With the groups recombined for the main event, this translated into a spot on the outside of row five, and left the AirAsia Team Lotus protege relying as much on others' mistakes as his own overtaking ability if he was to make headway.

As it happened, a poor getaway left the Fluid Van Diemen driver ensnared by traffic in the early stages and, by the time he had accounted for the cars immediately he found that the leading group had established an unbridgable gap. Although he closed gradually on the fleeing pack, Parry could only make it up to ninth place, coming home as the leading non-Mygale entrant.

"It was just a disappointing weekend all round," the Welshman sighed, "It wasn't the way anyone involved in the programme wanted to end the year, but things just didn't come together. We had too much to do in the Final and, even though we finished as the best of the non-Mygale runners, ninth place isn't where we had expected - or wanted - to be."


Article created by Craig Llewellyn.