GP2’S TOP-BRIT KING TARGETS THIRD IN THE TITLE RACE AFTER POINTS ON SEPANG DEBUT
Date: 03 / 10 / 2016
British racer Jordan King came away from the penultimate GP2 weekend of 2016 in Malaysia with his eye firmly on third in the championship standings after scoring more good points.
The 22-year-old, who’s in his second season with Spanish team Racing Engineering, acclimatised quickly to the Sepang circuit on his first visit to the Malaysian GP venue, taking fifth in the opening race of the weekend.
“It’s always exciting to go to a new track,” King says. “I know my way round Sepang pretty well after watching races there over the years. I even spent many an hour pounding round there on the PlayStation as a kid!
“In all seriousness, I’d spent some time in Spain on the team’s simulator so I was well-prepared ahead of the event. My fitness is good, too, so I wasn’t concerned about the temperatures in the car.”
Practice was encouraging for King and the #4 Racing Engineering Dallara-Renault.
“We were fourth quickest, which was pretty satisfying. There’s always a little bit more to find, but we got to grips with the track quickly and had a decent balance on the car. It was a good start to the weekend.”
That form didn’t quite translate into the crucial qualifying session, as King explains.
“We struggled a bit to maintain that consistency, that balance,” he admits. “A few more tenths and we would have been much further up. Still, I was confident I could move up from eighth on the grid in the longer of the two races.
“I started on the faster of the two tyre compounds that we’re obliged to run in the feature race, and made good progress. I lost a few places after a small coming-together with my team-mate Norman [Nato] but I was pleased to get up to fifth by the end. It was a physical race, the hardest of the year in fact, with the long, high-speed corners at Sepang giving the neck a good work out. After comparing my pre- and post-race weight, I lost 2.5kg of fluid, which shows how tough it was!
King started Sunday’s sprint race from fourth after the reversed grid order from Saturday’s top-eight had been applied.
“I was really confident for race two,” he says. “We were really in the mix from the second row. My thoughts were entirely on winning it, with a podium the least I expected.
“Unfortunately, my car sustained damage in another coming-together with Norman as we started lap two. He came up the inside of me at Turn 1, leaving me on the outside, but on the right line for the switchback Turn 2. There just wasn’t enough room for the move to stick. We touched and he spun. I had to nurse my car home to 14th, out of the points.
“It was a great shame as we lost a lot of useful points.”
King lies joint fifth in the title race with Nato and remains the best-placed of the Brits. He’s targeting third in the final reckoning with one weekend remaining.
“I’m looking forward to Abu Dhabi,” he admits. “I was running close to the front last year before the sprint race was called off early. I know the Yas Marina circuit well having also tested the Manor Formula 1 car. I’ll be giving it my best shot to end the year on a high.”
The next round of the GP2 Series takes place in Abu Dhabi on November 28-29.