Jordan King ended up having to make the best out of a bad situation during the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship's visit to Rockingham for Rounds Fifteen and Sixteen of the 2011 campaign, with a poor qualifying showing putting the Manor Competition driver on the backfoot in the races.
Jordan headed to Rockingham boosted by strong form there during pre-season testing and carried the pace over into Friday's two practice sessions. However this strong pace would disappear somewhat in qualifying and the opening race.
Stoneleigh-based King said: “On old tyres in practice, we were fastest by a couple of tenths. As soon as we put new tyres on for qualifying, though, everything suddenly changed and it was really hard to get a lap time out of the car. It was frustrating, because we couldn't really put our finger on what was wrong. We ended up fifth in the first session.
“I held position off the line at the start of race one, but then I struggled to keep up with the top four. Later on, I had the championship leader on my tail for a few laps, and with the speed he had, I was actually surprised I managed to keep him behind me for as long as I did. I made a little mistake, though, and ran wide, which dropped me down to ninth.
“I was really fired-up after that, and over the remaining three laps, I chased down and caught the driver ahead. If we'd had just one more lap, I feel pretty confident we could have overtaken him. I was just disappointed at having thrown away fifth place.”
King started the second race eleventh on the grid and the BRDC Rising Star enjoyed a better race run, as he explains: “I got a good start, and everyone seemed to bunch up on the inside heading into the first corner, so I went for the outside. It was pretty tight, but I ended up gaining two places there, which was good. I then got another two positions from a coming-together ahead, and over the first few laps, we were really on it and caught the driver in sixth – but his speed seemed to pick up as ours dropped away. From then on, I was in no-man's land, just pushing on in the hope that something might happen. It was quite a lonely race, to be honest.”
The 17 year old is now looking ahead to the final two meetings of the season around the Brands Hatch GP circuit and Silverstone, with the Hugo Boss brand ambassador sitting eighth in the points table. The Princethorpe College student has a top six finish in his sights, while also aims to cement his status as the best-placed Manor Competition driver.
King concluded: “We've been the team leader all year, really. There have been so many races where we could have finished inside the top five and been the top Manor driver by quite a way, but for one reason or another, things haven't worked out. Where we are in the championship doesn't reflect the speed we've had at all, if we hadn't been robbed of the win at Snetterton, for example, it would be a different story now entirely.
“I'm the least experienced driver on the grid, so I've always been on the back foot a little bit in that I haven't raced around some of the circuits before whereas a lot of the others have – but I have raced at both Brands Hatch GP and Silverstone, so hopefully we should be able to hit the ground running there. I definitely want another podium before the season's out.”