Parry gets immediately into the groove in NEC at Hockenheim

DREAM DEBUT: Matt Parry at the opening round of the Formula Renault NEC at Hockenheim
DREAM DEBUT: Matt Parry at the opening round of the Formula Renault NEC at Hockenheim

Bury St Edmunds’ Matt Parry made an impressive start to his first international single-seater campaign at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit.

Driving for Fortec motorsport, the 18-year-old claimed multiple pole positions and podium finishes at the opening round of the 2013 Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) series.

“Taking two podium finishes is a great way to get my Formula Renault NEC season under way, particularly given the number of Eurocup drivers racing here this weekend,” said Parry. “I was well aware of not getting involved in any unnecessary battles that could have a long-term impact on the year, but think I showed that I could live with the more experienced runners in the field and that bodes well for the rest of the season.”

The reigning Intersteps champion and Caterham Racing Academy member built on strong pre-season test performances by running at the front through Friday’s practice sessions, before claiming pole position for the opening two races of the weekend.

Parry’s qualifying display was made more notable by the fact the 38-car field included several drivers from the Formula Renault Eurocup — the level Parry aspires to compete at next year.

His best times in the second of two sessions that split the field into separate groups proved to be quicker than current McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Jake Dennis, securing top spot on the grid for the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning races.

He was unable to turn pole position into victory in race one as his gear selector failed when he seemingly had it sewn up, but only finishing behind three Eurocup regulars.

Although he made a similarly strong start to race two, Parry heeded his team’s advice not to mix it with Eurocup runners Dennis and Oliver Rowland and concentrated on gathering as many points as possible towards his NEC campaign, eventually finishing third.

He also secured a comfortable podium in the final event of the weekend to leave him with 57 points overall in the Championship ahead of the next rounds of the NEC at the Nurburgring on April 20 and 21.