Jordan King produced a gritty performance at Zandvoort in the Netherland while making his second guest appearance in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup of the season. The Warwickshire driver showed good pace throughout the weekend, but frustrating circumstances kept him off the podium.
A fortnight earlier King made his debut in the series at Oschersleben and with that experience under his belt, as well his strong performance in the UK series at Snetterton, where he nearly took a maiden win, the Stoneleigh-based racer headed to Zandvoort fired-up for success.
King revealed: “The aim was to get two top five finishes at least, if not two podiums, and I was feeling pretty confident given the pace we'd had at Snetterton. It was good to be able to gel with the team a bit more and get to know them properly after working together at Oschersleben – they're a great bunch of guys, and MP Motorsport is a very professional outfit.
“I really enjoyed the track; it's quite tight-and-twisty, and good fun to drive. It only took me ten laps or so to get used to it, and after that, I felt pretty comfortable. We were quick in both the wet and the dry, too, so I was happy in all conditions.”
The weekend gave King a perfect chance to showcase his potential in front of the biggest Formula 3 teams in the business, with the youngster racing at the televised Masters of F3 event. The 17 year old shrugged off any extra pressure that might have brought, putting his head down in practice to lap sixth quickest in the dry and fourth in the wet in the 24 strong field.
The BRDC Rising Star hoped for a repeat in qualifying, but the first session saw him go out on track at the wrong moment, while persistent yellow flags in the second scuppered his progress when he looking for a top three start. Despite the problems, he would start fourth and fifth for the two races.
Reflecting on race one, King said: “At the start of the first race, I didn't quite get the balance right between the clutch, brake and accelerator in the wet and I stalled, which dropped me down to 20th. I was still pretty relaxed and chilled, but it was really hard to come through the pack purely because there was so much spray – you couldn't see a thing!
“It was probably the wettest race I've ever driven in, and that made overtaking particularly tricky – I was even having to ease off down the straights at times because there were kinks in it and I couldn't see where I was going, and you couldn't spot your braking-points properly.
“Actually attacking other drivers for position was so difficult – I could be much quicker and sat just five metres behind the rear wing of the guy in front, but I couldn't do anything about it – and that meant a lot of it was about taking advantage of people's mistakes. Apart from the start, though, I was happy with the speed we showed and that I had been able to come back through so well in those conditions.”
A superb recovery drive saw Jordan end up in seventh place, setting the third fastest lap of the race. Race two went in a similar fashion, as he recounts: “The track was horribly greasy and really slippery, with next-to-no grip, and that caused a mixture of understeer and oversteer throughout the race. I got a good start and was battling with the group in front around the opening lap, but then I went for a move up the inside into one of the corners and found myself squeezed between a couple of other cars, which brought me practically to a standstill.
“I ended up losing a load of places just through being in the wrong position on the track. I dropped down to tenth, but then a driver spun off ahead and I was able to overtake a few others and fight my way through to fifth. It was a bit annoying again, because we easily had the pace to finish on the podium.”
The weekend, despite the frustrations, proved to be a good experience and a confidence booster for King as he gets set for the next rounds of the Formula Renault UK series around the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, with the Princethorpe College student getting ready to race in front of a bumper crowd again at the World Series by Renault event.
The Hugo Boss brand ambassador concluded: “It was another weekend where the speed was there but we never actually got the results to show for it. That seems to be a bit of a trend this year, but we were strong in testing at Silverstone and given our pace over the last few meetings, there's no reason at all why we shouldn't be right up at the front again. The goal will be two podium finishes – as a minimum…”