as he concludes Kiwi campaign inside top five
Jordan King vows that he has returned from his Kiwi adventure in the Toyota Racing Series (TRS) a ‘stronger’ driver for what lies ahead – after tallying a victory and four podium finishes Down Under up against some of the finest young talent around.
Jordan travelled to the fifth and final outing of the fiercely-contested, New Zealand-based TRS at Manfeild locked in a tight tussle for third spot in the title standings – and fired-up to sign off in style.
“After having such a disastrous first round, we were on the back foot for the remainder of the championship,” he confessed. “We clawed our way back, but we still had it all to do at Manfeild. We knew we needed a strong weekend and to come away with a really good result from there.”
Rapidly becoming a fan of the short, bumpy North Island circuit and showing particularly well in wet conditions during practice, the highly-rated Stoneleigh-based speed demon subsequently found himself plagued by a lack of mechanical grip that neither he nor his team, M2 Competition, were able to fully conquer.
Albeit only a few tenths of a second shy of the benchmark, that was enough to relegate Jordan to 14th in qualifying for race one amongst the 20 competitors. Impressively undeterred, a ‘mega’ getaway saw the 17-year-old immediately vault up into eighth, and thereafter he produced a commendably gritty performance to retain that position all the way to the chequered flag, crossing the line as the best-placed of the five M2 Competition drivers.
After losing out in a first corner mêlée in race two – leaving him a frustrated ninth – Jordan nonetheless remained firmly in contention for P3 in the championship hunt heading into race three. What’s more, up until lap ten, that is precisely what he looked to be on-course to achieve. He takes up the story.
“We started eighth, and I progressed to sixth pretty quickly,” recalls the BRDC Rising Star. “Our speed was really good and I made a move on the driver ahead in fifth into the first corner, but on the exit, he tagged the rear of my car. That sent me into a spin, the engine stalled and unfortunately, I couldn’t get it going again.
“Given that my two main rivals later crashed out, if I had just finished inside the top seven, it would have been enough to take third in the championship, so that was really disappointing. I don’t think anyone in the team said anything for half-an-hour after the race – we were all just sat there in silence.”
Convinced that his pace had been more than sufficient to get the job done – “We were fast enough to be up at the front season-long,” he underlines – the frustration did not take the sheen off an otherwise overwhelmingly positive TRS experience for the Princethorpe College A-Level student, yielding fifth position in the final points table.
With plenty of track time and extra-curricular activities of the ilk of mountain-biking, sky-diving, bungee-jumping, parasailing and white-water rafting – “The whole outdoor adventure side of things is completely up my street,” he admits – it was manna from heaven for this all-action hero, and even more importantly still, enabled Jordan to keep his hand in during the traditional winter ‘off’ season. And that, he hopes, will pay dividends when he embarks upon his principal 2012 campaign in the forthcoming weeks.
“I loved New Zealand!” enthused the Hugo Boss brand ambassador in conclusion. “The M2 Competition guys are a really good bunch of lads, and I’d love to work with them again one day. There’s a brilliant atmosphere inside the team, and they’re really professional and always gave me a great car. Overall, it honestly couldn’t have gone much better. I learned a lot, improved my starts and honed my racecraft – and I definitely feel a stronger driver for it all now.”