Matt Parry finally ended his wait for a maiden GP3 Series victory by clinching success at the Hungaroring over the weekend, moving him up to fourth in the standings.
Having been denied a podium appearance on home soil at Silverstone two weeks previously, the Bury St Edmunds-raised racer laid down an early marker in Budapest by clinching a front row qualifying spot for Saturday’s race.
And when McLaren protege Nyck de Vries’ car refused to fire before the race, Parry was handed another welcome boost.
However, he initially appeared to have thrown away his unexpected advantage by making a slow getaway.
But despite the poor start, the Welshman maintained his lead, holding his nerve to take the welcome marshals’ salute as he savoured a 3.2 second victory over Ferrari-supported Antonio Fuoco.
“It’s awesome to finally get that first win in GP3,” Parry admitted. “I know we’ve had the pace to run up front, and had podiums last year, but it’s a great feeling to stand on the very top step.
“It’s been a while since I last did that, but I think that both the team and I deserved it.
“Koiranen GP did a fantastic job, there were no issues with the car and I made no mistakes, so everything came together at the right moment.”
The victory meant Parry had to line up eighth on the partially-reversed grid for Sunday’s sprint event and although he managed to make up two places, limited overtaking prevented him from improving his position at the flag.
However, he was elevated to fifth place in a revised result after fourth-place finisher Jack Aitken picked up a five second penalty, gifting Parry some more welcome points in the championship standings.
Round five of the 2016 GP3 Series takes place in support of the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring this weekend.
n Meanwhile, Ben Barker will be hoping his Gulf Racing team will be more competitive at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The former West Suffolk college student, along with his fellow team-mates, endured a frustrating weekend in the Nurburgring 6 Hours in Germany, where they were forced to settle for sixth in the GT-Am class.