Matty cut a content figure following his day’s work, in the free practice and qualifying sessions of the opening day of the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC at Monza.

The young North East racer hit the ground running on a balmy spring day in Northern Italy, spending most of his day running at a pace that comfortably placed him into the top ten runners in a field of 32 cars.

With the weekend being Matty’s first visit to the Cathedral of Speed, Free Practice 1 was very much an acclimatisation exercise as Matty learnt the track.  Running on old tyres, he turned in consistent lap times as he completed 20 tours, on his way to sixth fastest overall with a lap of 1:50.880.

Building on this strong start, Matty’s pace increased as his knowledge of the track and confidence grew through Free Practice 2. By the end of the session and after a final qualifying simulation, he found himself third fastest, only 0.150 seconds of the top spot on a 1:50.133

After a three hour break, while the Formula Renault 3.5 and Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo runners undertook their free practice, Matty launched into two frenetic, 25 minute qualifying sessions.

In the first, which decided grid order for Saturday’s race, Matty struggled to find a clear run or a tow down the main pit straight to propel himself into the top positions, however 11th fastest and only half a second from pole in his first competitive session was a decent result.

In the second session, Matty delivered his fastest lap of the weekend so far with a 1:49.994 and will start Sunday’s race from 8th as a result.

Speaking after Qualifying, Matty said: “We had a really good day today and I’ve really enjoyed my first day around Monza.  We have been right on the pace and we’re fairly well set for the weekends races.”

“Qualifying was tricky as the key to the ultimate lap was to have enough clear air in front for the majority of the lap, but to be close enough to the car ahead to steal a tow down the main straight at the end of the lap as that is worth about four tenths of a second.

I didn’t quite get that as well as some of the others but I’m still happy with the two grid spots, now the key is to keep out of trouble in the Rettifilo and see what I can do in the races.”

Race 1 from Monza begins at 13:05 UK time, with race 2 off at 08:55 UK time on Sunday morning. Both can be found live at