Assen Friday

Matty cut a frustrated figure in the Assen paddock on Friday evening, after another difficult Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup qualifying session undermined two hugely impressive practice performances earlier in the day.

After setting the pace in practice one before narrowly missing out on the top spot to Lotus backed South African Callan O’Keeffe in the second, Matty had high hopes of challenging for Pole Position in the qualifying sessions that ended the first day of action at the Gamma racing event.

Again though, his efforts were thwarted by an inability to extract maximum performance from his fresh Michelin tyres, with only half a second covering the top nine, the 18 year old’s best lap, which was only 0.4 seconds off pole, would only earn him seventh in the session, and tenth on the race one grid following a dubious judgement on a yellow flag infringement in practice.

Further woe was added to the afternoon with a red flag three minutes from the chequered flag in the second qualifying block, which ruined Matty’s attempts to build heat into the tyres and left him 10th on the grid for race two.

While most drivers would be relatively content with two top ten starts, Matty had set himself higher goals after impressing again in the race simulation runs in practice and knows he now has a task ahead of him in Saturday and Sunday’s races.

“I’m just so frustrated with this qualifying issue, partly because it’s been there all season, partly because it makes me feel like I am letting a lot of people down but mainly because I just don’t know if it’s me, or if it’s a setup thing with the car.  I can’t pin it down and it’s starting to annoy me.”

“I’m slightly reassured that looking back, it does seem to be a theme of all the cars in the team, but after doing so well in the practice sessions and showing I have quick and consistent pace around this track on long runs I was hopeful of being much higher up the order.”

With the tight and narrow confines of the track, making overtaking a much more complex art this week than at Spa last weekend, Matty is hoping his consistent and fast race pace can help him carve his way up through the field and put on a show for the circa 90,000 strong crowd expected over the weekend.

“I was trying a few different lines throughout practice and followed a few other cars to figure out where is best to pass around here and it’s a tricky place.  There are options, but to make them work, it will be a case of building pressure on the guy in front, forcing him into a mistake and then capitalising.”

“Hopefully I can get a good start, gain a couple of places off the line, avoid any nonsense and comings together at the first and second corners and then just drive the race from there.”

Race one of the Gamma Race Weekend gets underway on Saturday afternoon at 13:20 UK time with race two away at 14:10 UK time on Sunday.

With no online TV coverage this weekend, fans can keep track of the action via the circuit’s live timing system, which can be accessed HERE.