Jordan King conquers changeable conditions to gain ground in European title chase
11.07.2012: Jordan King found himself battling against the elements in the Formula Renault Eurocup at the Nürburgring
Jordan King found himself battling against the elements in the Formula Renault Eurocup at the Nürburgring and Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) at Oschersleben, but he showcased his steely resolve and impressive determination to storm his way through the spray to a brace of podium finishes.
After lapping second-quickest in the dry and third in the wet out of the 38 Eurocup contenders during practice at the Nürburgring, Jordan entered qualifying confident about his prospects for success, but a change in both the air temperature and track conditions left him unexpectedly on the back foot, and a lowly 22nd on the grid for race one and 16th for race two, unaccustomed territory indeed for the talented young Warwickshire ace.
Worse was to follow in the opening encounter, with an early collision with a rival as he grittily endeavoured to make up ground. Happily, the second outing would go considerably better.
“The race began on a wet-but-drying track, with about half the field on slick tyres – us included – and the other half on wets,” Jordan recounted. “We were strong right from the start and had a really good first lap to move immediately up into the top ten. I then focussed on picking my way past the drivers in front; it was a case of finding the dry patches on the track and sticking to them because that was where the grip was.
“I eventually worked my way into fourth but then I got a little greedy when I tried to pass two drivers in one go, as I picked the wrong side to attack and found myself blocked, causing me to lose two places rather than gain two! I managed to get fifth position back before the chequered flag, though, which meant the weekend ended far better than it had looked like doing after qualifying.”
Having closed to within four points of the top eight in the Eurocup standings, the highly-rated Stoneleigh-based speed demon travelled next to Oschersleben for the third NEC meeting of 2012 bullish about his chances – and duly lapped a staggering seven tenths of a second faster than any of his 27 adversaries in first practice.
A self-confessed fan of the German circuit – one characterised by a succession of mid-speed corners and few real overtaking opportunities – unfortunately, Jordan would again find his qualifying efforts frustratingly stymied, this time by a constant flurry of yellow flags. Whilst fourth on the grid for race one and third for race two were far from a disaster, by the same measure, they fell some way short of what the 18-year-old Princethorpe College student had been targeting.
“Race one was wet and I lost a place at the start,” he recalled, “but we had the speed to come back through the pack. With all the spray it was difficult to see, but I fought my way up into second and then closed right in on the leader.
“I narrowed the gap to just a couple of car lengths and was almost in a position to mount an attack when on the penultimate lap, I made a small mistake and ran off the track, which gave him the breathing space he needed. Still, I was pretty chuffed with my progression in those conditions, to be honest, especially around a circuit like Oschersleben – that was very satisfying.
“In race two, I went right the way around the outside of the two drivers on the front row into Turn One to take the lead, but the track conditions had changed which slightly upset the balance of the car, and we didn’t have the pace over the early laps to stay ahead. I fell back to second and then every time I closed on the leader, he was able to respond. We were never more than a tenth or two off the pace, so our speed was good – we just lacked that last little edge.”
His excellent points haul was nonetheless sufficient to vault Jordan to the top of the title chase, but in race three the following day, towards the end of a particularly assertive opening lap that had seen him scythe his way from fifth on the reverse grid up into second – and rapidly hunting down the leader – the British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star and MSA Academy member entered one of the corners just a touch too fast, lost the rear of his Manor MP Motorsport single-seater and found himself spearing heavily into the tyre barriers.
Admitting that it was ‘probably the most damage I’ve ever done to a car’ but thankfully escaping unharmed, Jordan was left to reflect upon a weekend of highs-and-lows – and heading next to Assen in the Netherlands sitting second in the drivers’ standings, he is fired-up to break his NEC duck.
“We had the pace to win Sunday’s race, and if we had done so, we would have been leading the championship quite comfortably,” mused the Hugo Boss brand ambassador. “Our speed was certainly encouraging, though – we were competitive and right up at the front throughout – so on the whole, it was an extremely positive weekend. But now, it’s time to win!”
You can keep up-to-date with Jordan’s latest career news and results at www.jordanking.co.uk and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/42jordanking
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