A series of first lap incidents conspired to provide Matty with a tough introduction to life in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC this afternoon (April 12th) as he finished his debut race in 19th position following what essentially became a recovery drive following a number of first lap incidents.

Lining up on the grid in 11th position, Matty made an excellent start, jumping up to eighth as the field entered the first corner and right in amongst the lead pack.

Caught out by the runners ahead concertinaing as they jostled for position, Matty was forced into evasive action that sent him over the kerbs and was launched into the air.

A heavy landing damaged the floor of the car, making it a handful to drive, however Matty was able to arrest the slide and continue on.

Through Curva Grande, the damaged floor was affecting the balance and handling of his AVF machine and on the run into the Variante della Roggia, Matty locked up and ran straight on before being involved with a second collision.

Still battling and looking for a way to get back up towards the front of the field, Matty quickly found himself drafting up to the back of Fortec Motorsport’s Seb Morris. A committed run through the Ascari chicane saw Matty catch a tow towards the Parabolica, and on the entry of the corner, take the inside line forcing Morris into the middle of the racetrack.

Struggling for grip, the Fortec driver’s car became unsettled and as Matty’s understeering car drifted away from the apex, the slight contact was enough to tip Morris into a complete spin, which Matty was unable to avoid collecting.

Remarkably, Matty was able to re-join the race although with compromised car, was unable to mount a charge through the field although climbing back to 19th after running in the bottom five runners marked an achievement of sorts.

A disappointed Matty said: “I’ve definitely had better races and after such a good Friday, it was a very disappointing day, particularly after making a clean getaway at the start.”

“Going into turn 1, I was unsighted by a lock up in front of me and I got caught out by just how much the drivers in front slowed through the chicane.  From there the damage to the floor meant the car was understeering like mad which pretty much ruined the race.”

Looking ahead to the second race of the weekend, Matty is still confident of enjoying a strong finish to the weekend.

“I’ve learnt so much from that first race, in terms of the lap, the car and the other drivers so it was still a valuable experience.  I’m in eighth position at the start so, if I can get a similar getaway as in race one and avoid any first corner incidents, I can try and push for a top six finish.

Race two of the weekend gets underway at 08:55 UK time on Sunday morning and can be watched live at www.formularenault.tv