Jordan King kept himself firmly in the hunt for a top finish in the inaugural WSK Master Series with an eye-catching performance around a track he had never previously raced at in round two at Val Vibrata in Italy – meaning the highly-rated young Warwickshire star will travel to the season finale as indisputably one of the men to beat.
The new-for-2010 WSK Master Series is an offshoot of the hotly-contested WSK Euro Series, commonly held to be one of the toughest karting championships in the world. Despite his comparative lack of prior experience of the circuit around two hours to the north-east of Rome, Jordan still lapped encouragingly right up at the sharp end throughout practice, only for a wholly unexpected development to scupper his hopes of snatching the top spot in qualifying.
“The level of competition in the Master Series is exactly the same as in the Euro Series, only instead of having ten drivers who can win you’ve maybe got five,” the 16-year-old explained. “I had done a day’s testing at Val Vibrata some time beforehand, so I knew which way the track went. It’s not too difficult to learn – it’s got quite a simple layout with a bit of everything, and I enjoyed driving it.
“I was feeling ill before qualifying, and I actually had a nosebleed halfway through – I didn’t realise what had happened until I got back to the pits and took my helmet off and my face was covered in blood! That certainly didn’t help me to get the best out of the session and I ended up fifth in my group and tenth overall, but we were less than two tenths of a second off the quickest, so there were no major problems.
“In the first heat I got into second and was slowly catching the leader by half-a-tenth-a-lap or so. I got to within about four kart-lengths of him and then made a lunge to grab the lead, and after that I was able to establish enough of a gap to give me the breathing space I needed to win the race.”
Rebounding in excellent fashion from his qualifying woes, the Harbury-based speed demon added to his triumphant start with a strong runner-up finish in the second encounter, maturely electing to just ‘chill out and save the tyres’ rather than try to chase down a leader who had established quite an advantage by the time Jordan had worked his way into P2.
And then when the heavens opened in time for heat three, despite never having driven Val Vibrata in such conditions before, he was so utterly dominant as to take the chequered flag almost five seconds clear of his closest pursuer and even lap some of his adversaries.
“I’d watched the race before in the wet, so I knew roughly what the lines would be like,” he reasoned. “I was able to come through really quickly, and after I caught the leader I got past and then just pulled away. Everything felt good and I’m always confident in the wet, and it all came pretty easily, to be honest.”
Consequently topping the intermediate rankings amongst the 39 KF2 class competitors composed of nine different nationalities, Jordan went on to begin the pre-final from pole position and swiftly demonstrated that he is capable of mixing it right up at the front against international opponents out of the very top drawer, as he became embroiled in a fraught three-way scrap for supremacy and wound up a scant six hundredths of a second shy of victory.
“I stayed in front for the first few laps, but then I got into a battle with Antonio Giovinazzi and Max Klinkby-Silver,” recounted the Princethorpe College student. “Klinkby-Silver took the lead and built up a small gap, and then Giovinazzi came past me for second, so I just sat behind him and pushed until we caught Klinkby-Silver back up again – and after that it was all a bit of a dogfight!
“We kept swapping places and with a couple of laps to go I got back into the lead, but I then went a little bit too tight into one of the hairpins and that allowed Giovinazzi to just sneak up the inside of me on the exit. I fell down to fourth, but on the last lap I managed to get second place back again.
“Unfortunately, in the grand final I didn’t get a good start; we only had one rolling-up lap, whereas before the pre-final there had been two so I thought there was going to be another one, and when the race started I wasn’t quite ready and was two metres behind the pole man going across the line. That allowed a lot of karts past me on the inside, and I dropped down to about eighth. I recovered to fourth by the end of the first lap and I was beginning to catch the leaders again towards the end of the race, but I just ran out of laps…”
With the front-runners all so evenly-matched, it was difficult to make any great progress, as Jordan went on to cross the finish line a mere two seconds adrift of the race-winner. Still, second and fourth represented solid points indeed with regard to the overall standings, and the Piers Sexton-run hotshot knows he will travel to the Castelletto decider in October – around a circuit at which he has shone in the past – with as good a chance of any of his rivals of claiming second spot in the title chase.
“I was disappointed given the speed we had and what I felt we could have achieved, but it was still good to get two strong results,” he mused in conclusion of his Val Vibrata adventure. “There’s very little in it between second and sixth in the championship, so P2 is now the goal – and I’m confident we can do it.”
To keep up-to-date with Jordan’s latest career news and results, please visit: www.jordanking.co.uk
Note: These articles are written and supplied by you the competitors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Championship
Picture Credit: Gregory Heirman/FotoFormulaK