Having fought back magnificently from a torrid Teretonga curtain-raiser with a podium finish second time out at Timaru and a superb lights-to-flag victory a week later still at Taupo, Jordan King has moved even further up the Toyota Racing Series title standings courtesy of another strong weekend at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
In optimistic mood, Jordan headed north to New Zealand’s newest circuit, whose undulating, bumpy and demanding 2.6km layout is characterised by constant elevation changes, blind, cambered corners and steep, tightening drops – presenting a stern challenge to the Toyota Racing Series’ 19 competitors.
After settling himself in during practice, in a tremendously close qualifying session, the talented young Stoneleigh-based single-seater ace produced a lap time good enough for sixth on the starting grid for race one. He proceeded to take the chequered flag in the same position, right in the wheeltracks of his Ferrari-backed M2 Competition team-mate Raffaele Marciello.
“That left me on pole position for race two,” Jordan recalled, “but unfortunately, I had a bad start and lost a place and then there was a re-start, at which I got out-dragged into Turn One. I wound up third in the end, which was still a good result and good points for the championship.”
That it indubitably was, as the 17-year-old BRDC Rising Star flashed across the line less than half-a-second shy of the runner-up, in so doing cementing his fourth rostrum finish of the campaign. He would again feature right up at the sharp end in the weekend’s third and final outing, the 20-lap New Zealand Motor Cup.
“I got another bad start,” he recounted, “which we later deduced was due to my not releasing the clutch right and there being more grip on the track than expected. I was then hit from behind and dropped down to 12th place, but subsequently made two really good re-starts after safety car periods to regain a couple of positions. I made a few more back before the end of the race, and I was pretty pleased with that as the track is tight and twisty and as such, not massively conducive to overtaking.”
Seventh when the flag came down, the combination of results has moved Jordan up a spot into fifth in the championship table, a mere four points shy of countryman Josh Hill in the duel for the honour of finishing as the Toyota Racing Series’ top Brit. Even third place is mathematically within reach, meaning that with just one meeting remaining – the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild – the battle is very much still on.
“It was another tough weekend, but good to score some more solid points,” mused the Princethorpe College A-Level student and Hugo Boss brand ambassador in conclusion. “You always want a bit more, but it was nice to come away with another trophy and make progress in the championship, and our speed was certainly right there again. Let’s see what we can do at Manfeild now!”