Bury St Edmunds racer Matt Parry showed he had lost none of his qualifying pace en route to returning to the points at Sochi Autodrom.
Problems have dogged Parry during the second half of his maiden GP3 Series campaign, but after a five-week gap since the previous round at Monza, he was raring to get back to racing.
But first he had to learn the nuances of the unique Sochi circuit, which winds around the former Winter Olympic park in the Black Sea resort.
His previous foray to Russia had yielded a rare Formula Renault Eurocup podium in 2014 but, despite a run of four races where bad luck had prevented any addition to a strong mid-season points tally, the Welshman was confident of again being able to mix it with the series frontrunners.
Heavy rain and failing light blighted Friday’s practice session but, having posted the 13th best time, Parry remained upbeat ahead of the following morning’s qualifying session, which also began with a damp track surface.
“Practice was tricky as I needed the learn the track without making the sort of mistake that would have given the team a lot of work overnight,” said Parry, who eventually posted the sixth-best qualifying time.
Unfortunately, he was adjudged to have impeded another competitor earlier in the qualifying session, and the ensuing penalty dropped him three positions on the grid for race one, which should have followed final F1 practice on Saturday morning.
However, with barrier repairs required, the race was postponed until Sunday.
Parry was determined to show he deserved a top six spot and, after a decent start, picked off a couple of rivals. But braking issues on the Koiranen car meant he did well to hold on to seventh place.
Parry and team-mate Jimmy Eriksson lined up alongside each other on an all-Koiranen front row for the second race a couple of hours later. While the Swede made a good getaway from pole, Parry slipped back into the pack, the 21-year old fell victim to contact which saw him run off the road at turn 13 and pick up a puncture that ended his weekend.
“It was a frustrating way to end the meeting, but it was largely of my own making,” Parry admitted, “After a poor start, I made a couple of other mistakes. Once in the melee, contact was always a possibility, and that was that.”
Round eight takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit on November 19-21.