MOTOR RACING: JORDAN King is confident that he has turned a corner during a hitherto frustrating 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship campaign – after scything his way superbly through the spray to a brilliant podium double at a rain-drenched Norisring.
Having entered his sophomore season in the fiercely-disputed series hotly-tipped as a contender for regular victories and rostrum finishes, King has thus far found his eye-catching racecraft stymied by persistent qualifying woes that have left him too far down the starting grid to yield the results he is palpably capable of.
That was, at least, until he pitched up at Germany’s Norisring. After lapping an excellent fourth-quickest in first practice amongst the 26 protagonists – the indisputable crème de la crème of young racing talent at F3 level – the gifted Warwickshire ace proceeded to qualify tenth, sixth and fifth for the weekend’s three races, placing him firmly in the ballpark and in with a solid shout of spraying some bubbly.
Wasting little time in proving his potential, King fought his way feistily through into sixth in an eventful opening encounter. He looked in good shape to pounce upon some tyre wear-hobbled rivals when the action resumed following a late safety car period, but inadvertent contact cost him his front wing and although he gallantly tried to continue, he was ultimately forced to admit defeat.
The weather changed the following day, leaving the circuit greasy and damp in patches ahead of the second outing – but far from deterring the highly-rated Harbury-based hotshot, the treacherous conditions only served to inspire him as he picked off his adversaries in swift succession.
By the time the race was red-flagged just before half-distance as the rain fell with increasing intensity, King was up to fourth.
After all drivers had traded their slick tyres in for wets, a coming-together at the re-start promoted the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) SuperStar, MSA Team UK protégé and former McLaren Autosport Award finalist to third. A lap later, he pulled off a textbook switchback manoeuvre on the championship leader into Turn One to slice through into second place in his Carlin-prepared, Volkswagen-powered Dallara single-seater.
Not putting so much as a wheel out-of-place around an unforgiving street circuit that claimed no shortage of victims, it was a position that King would hold right the way to the chequered flag as he tallied his best result since Zandvoort some nine months ago.
Carefully avoiding more early on-track chaos in the weekend’s final showdown, the 20-year-old slotted into third and went on to impressively keep pace with the leading duo as he broke well clear of the chasing pack behind. During what was a relatively subdued affair in comparison with the previous two races, King maintained his stellar form to the end to secure a second podium finish and crown his most successful European F3 weekend to-date as he advanced to eighth in the drivers’ standings, within striking distance of the top five.
“We’ve had a rough run recently, which meant we arrived at the Norisring a long way adrift of the championship lead.” said the reigning British F3 Champion and Hugo Boss brand ambassador. “We’ve had so many problems and setbacks this year that it was difficult to really know too much what to expect. We knew we needed to turn things around, but then we’d been saying that for the past few weeks and it still hadn’t happened.
“We’re back up where we should be – fighting at the front – and even if the position doesn’t necessarily reflect as much, we have gained a fair chunk of ground in the standings.
“Now we need to keep this positive momentum going and build upon it by consistently pushing for more podiums – because there is still an awful lot to play for this year.”