Jordan King classed his maiden Formula Renault UK campaign a success despite a frustrating end to the 2010 Winter Series at Pembrey. The 16 year old was unable to pick up the results his potential deserved, but demonstrated the raw pace to prove he could be contender in the main series in 2011.
The youngster came into the weekend at the Welsh track after enjoying a successful debut at Snetterton, picking up a top ten finish despite suffering a huge accident in the pre event testing.
“Pembrey is a challenging and enjoyable circuit to drive and a good circuit to test at,” the Warwickshire driver said, “but racing-wise it isn't great, because it's really difficult to overtake. I felt pretty confident going into the weekend, though, because we had been quick in testing. We were actually the quickest of anyone in one of the wet sessions on Friday – that was definitely a boost, because it proved to everyone that even at such an early stage, I can be up at the front – but to be honest, I was happy whatever the weather.”
In tricky conditions in qualifying, Manor Competition's King missed out on the best track conditions, leaving him 16th on the grid for the first races.
“The whole team struggled in qualifying,” Jordan accepted. “We didn't get the timing right in terms of when the track was at its best; in that kind of situation, it's all about being out at the right time – and if you aren't, you'll be a long way down the order.
Despite his lowly starting position, King produced a superb drive through the field, passing team mate Josh Hill on the penultimate lap to take a great sixth place, ending up as the highest place Manor driver.
“Our speed was really good in the race, but the problem is that once you get close to the car in front, you can't go any quicker than them because of all the aerodynamic grip – so to pass ten drivers in 20 laps I thought was pretty good! It was good fun coming through, and just a shame there aren't a few more overtaking opportunities around Pembrey, because if there had been I could definitely have finished inside the top five.”
Race two didn't prove to be as successful, ending in retirement.
“I made really good starts the whole weekend, and this time I got up to ninth,” he recounted. “Then, going into lap three, several drivers in front of me all stacked up together on the inside on the entry to the first hairpin, so I went out wide to try to get the cut-back on them on the exit, but there was an incident ahead and two cars came to a complete stop.
“I came out of the hairpin travelling a lot quicker, and when someone moved over a little bit to avoid the accident, my front wing tagged his rear wheel, went underneath my car and punctured one of my tyres. That was a shame, because we could definitely have had another top six finish.”
The poor formed continued onto Sunday, despite a weekend's best performance in qualifying seeing him line up 11th for race three. Contact with a rival in that race saw him bounce over a kerb, causing front wing damage that lost him aerodynamic grip and speed. Further contact in the race saw him spun around, with a similar move in the final race dropping him out of contention, despite showing good pace.
“The basic speed is there,” he concluded, “and progress has been made in other areas, too, so that's all good – I'm just disappointed we didn't manage to get any decent results, as such. Doing the Winter Series paid off in terms of building my experience, though, and more testing will help us to find the last couple of tenths that we need – and then hopefully, if we can get qualifying sorted in time for the main season next year, we'll be able to start winning some races…”