Jordan King cruelly lost out on his maiden win in the Formula Renault UK 2.0 Championship when he unceremoniously removed from contention on the penultimate lap of Round Eleven of the 2011 season at Snetterton, a race the Manor Competition driver had led from the start.
Clearly reaping the benefits of his appearances in the Formula Two Championship and Formula Renault Northern European Cup series over the seven week summer break, King was right on the pace when he got to Norfolk for his first race weekend around the new 300 circuit, the Warwickshire racer setting the sixth and second fastest times in Friday's practice sessions.
King reflected: “It was good to keep my eye in during the break, and the Northern European Cup in particular had helped me to get my mind back into driving and understanding a Formula Renault again. I enjoyed the 300 layout; there's a lot more to it than there used to be, and that makes the lap time harder to come by. The goal was definitely to come away with two podium finishes, and I felt confident we could do that.”
The BRDC Rising Star targeting a top five spot heading into qualifying, but far exceeded his expectations to set the second fastest time. There was to be extra joy when the provisional polesitters car was found to be underweight, so with him demoted, King was promoted to pole position, his first in Formula Renault.
King headed into the race in confident mood after that result, but there was to be heartbreak, as he explains “I was already pretty pleased with second. There was still more time to be found, so we knew the speed was certainly there – but to be promoted to pole position was a real psychological boost. With it being so difficult to overtake in Formula Renault, starting from pole is a massive advantage – you can control the race so much more easily.
“I got a good start when the lights went out, and after that, I was able to manage the gap throughout the race. There were a few times when Alex Lynn behind got close enough to perhaps have a think about doing something, but I always felt in control and I actually began to edge away a little bit – without even having to push 100 per cent.
“I was thinking, 'we can really do this', and I was just concentrating on hitting all my braking-points and doing everything right – but then I think Lynn's exhaust broke, which gave him more power and therefore more performance and he was able to get back onto me again.
“On the penultimate lap, he decided to go for a bit of a lunge. Just as I was about to turn in at the end of Bentley Straight, I had a quick glance in my mirror and saw him diving up my inside. He was partly on the grass, so I delayed turning to give him a little bit of room to back out of it, but he didn't and his front wheel hit my back wheel and spun me round.
“I was really surprised that he had tried to pass me into that corner, particularly with such a half-hearted attempt. I was so disappointed that we didn't get the result we should have done. We were the quickest on the track, and we should have won. The only consolation was a new lap record, which was certainly an achievement and at least proved we had the pace and are making real progress.”
Whilst the stewards penalised Lynn for his actions, they could not give back King the result that was cruelly snatched away from him. King had lots of positives to take away from the race though, the 17 year old rookie leading a seasoned veteran throughout, showing no nerves when leading the race.
Unfortunately King was unable to make amends in race two, which he started on the third row, as he reflects: “I made a decent start and held position in sixth, but then on lap two, Olly Rowland came up the inside of me from a long way back. He didn't make the corner and went straight on – and he took me with him.
“I lost four places through that, and because I had gone off the track, I had lots of dirt on my tyres, too, so I ended up in a fight and dropped to 12th. I managed to battle my way back through to eighth, but the general driving standards over the weekend were pretty appalling, to be honest – there were some crazy overtaking moves being pulled out there.”
A better fastest lap than the race-winner went on to underline King's pace and while his final points hail did not reflect his pace, he still sits eighth in the championship standings. After running second at Thruxton, picking up his maiden podium at Croft and his performances at Snetterton, King is feeling hugely confident of claiming a much deserved maiden win by the end of the season.
The Hugo Boss Brand Ambassador concluded:“The potential is there. We just need the cookie to crumble slightly more our way next time – but we're definitely ready to win.”