MATT EXTENDS INTERSTEPS LEAD WITH THRUXTON BRACE


Matt Parry arrived at Thruxton with a 53-point advantage over his nearest rival, and left with nearly double that despite not being in as dominant form as at recent rounds.

The Fortec Motorsport driver was making his race debut at Britain's fastest circuit, and had only limited testing under his belt before qualifying got underway. Fortunately, both timed sessions were held in dry conditions, allowing the 18-year old to build both experience and confidence, although unsurprisingly he was unable to land pole position for any of the weekend's three races, eventually improving from third in the opening session to claim front row starts for the two Sunday outings.

Despite lining up in his lowest grid slot of the season, Parry was leading the field by the end of the opening lap of race one, capitalising on a bad start for poleman Lassi Halminen and making a better getaway than second-placed Liam Venter. His initial advantage grew steadily over the following laps, extending to over ten seconds before Parry eased off on the final tour to come home 9.929secs clear of the chasing pack on a circuit renowned for its slipstreaming and close racing.

Race two promised more of the same from the AirAsia Caterham Driver Development Scheme protege, but rain just before the start threw the event into confusion, with drivers changing tyres on the grid in a bid to second guess the conditions. Although Parry managed to maintain second place at the end of the opening lap, he was already being dropped by the leader, who had carved through the field on wet-weather rubber. The conditions continued to favour those to have changed tyres, albeit in contravention of the regulations, until midway through the race, when a drying line gradually saw the slick-shod runners begin to lap faster. Just as Parry began to reel in the gap to first place, however, the safety car appeared, scuppering what looked likely to be a battle for victory and leaving the 18-year old Welshman to settle for runners-up honours.

The final race later that afternoon initially appeared to be a more straightforward affair for Parry, who had converted second on the grid into the lead by the end of the lap. This time, however, polesitter - and Fortec team-mate - Jack Aitken stuck with the green-and-gold machine, keeping Parry on his toes as they duelled over top spot.

Their battle, which saw the two drivers swap position four times in six laps, also allowed Halminen to close in suffiiciently to have capitalised on any clash, but the Fortec pair kept it clean, with Parry eventually emerging in front by just six-tenths of a second to claim his second victory of the weekend.

"This was always going to be a tough weekend, given that I wasn't that familiar with the circuit, but other circumstances helped make it even more intense," Parry commented, " Although race one was relatively easy once i'd got away at the front, the conditions in race two and Jack's pressure in the finale made sure that I didn't have things all my own way.

"The battle in race three was good hard racing, using every inch of the track, but clean at the same time. I'm sure Lassi was waiting for us to take each other off, so we had to be careful, and it was probably the race that I have enjoyed most so far this season."

With his closest rival in the overall standings failing to keep pace with him, Parry was able to take his championship advantage out to 95 points as the series heads to Pembrey in South Wales this coming weekend (4-5 August).

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.