Mix-up denies King podium at Brands Hatch

Leading Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship team Manor Competition rued a highly unfortunate, and ultimately costly, mix-up during round 18 of the season at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit when Jordan King missed out on a near-guaranteed podium for the New Ollerton team.

Starting fourth on the grid for the second race of the weekend, the Warwickshire teenager made a good start and immediately gained ground by passing Tio Ellinas around the outside at Paddock Hill bend to move into the top three.

Running competitive lap times, King then benefitted from a drive-through penalty for championship leader Alex Lynn – a result of jumping the start – and so moved into second place at the end of lap two.

Then followed the drama as the lead Manor driver himself made an unscheduled pit visit at the end of the subsequent tour after mistakenly thinking he had a drive-through himself.

Costing King and Manor an almost certain second position, by the time he emerged from pit lane, the Formula Renault rookie was a long way down at the tail of the field. Lapping within half a second of the ultimate pace, King eventually finished in 12th position.

Josh Hill starred with a fantastic drive through the order from 11th to sixth while Alice Powell ended the second race two spots further back in eighth.

At the start Powell, who lined up 10th on the grid one place ahead of Hill, climbed into ninth at Graham Hill bend past Mitchell Gilbert and Josh followed her through to move into the top 10 before then usurping his team-mate as well.

After the penalty for Lynn, Hill and Powell ran in eighth in ninth respectively before

Hill gained another place and then moved into the top six when King made his erroneous visit to the pits.

Pressuring Dan Wells and Felix Serralles hard over the final few laps, overtaking was at a premium and Hill had to settle for sixth with Powell just 0.6 seconds adrift at the line in eighth.

For round 17, King was the highest placed Manor qualifier with the fourth fastest time with Powell 12th quickest and Hill a frustrated 13th, having only completed four laps in the session due to an unfortunate excursion at Surtees early on which damaged the car.

At the start, King cut to the inside for Paddock Hill bend from the outside of the second row to defend second place while Powell and Hill both made immediate progress to rise into 10th and 12th.

Hill then grabbed 11th and piled on the pressure to Powell, but the 2010 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Champion covered the line well.

Hill was relentless in his attempts to overhaul his Manor team-mate and after a safety car period during the closing stages, caused by an excursion for Ed Jones at Paddock Hill bend, he redoubled his efforts at the re-start and took 10th place at Westfield with a fantastic pass – having teed-up the move exiting Hawthorn bend.

On the final tour, lap 16, Hill went through to ninth after passing Serralles up the inside into Druids Hairpin and Powell followed him through as the Puerto Rican ran wide into the gravel.

Dan Wells dropped back on the last lap too, so Hill and Powell profited to take eighth and ninth respectively.

King, meanwhile, ran in fourth throughout and just couldn’t quite force third placed Ellinas into any kind of mistake.

Lapping with a best time just a couple of 10ths of a second shy of podium pace, King had to settle for the top four and, after the late safety car he had to focus on defending from the advancing Daniel Cammish.

“We should have had a podium with Jordan in race two, there’s no doubt about that,” said Manor Competition co-owner Sarah Shaw.

“It was a really unfortunate mistake, he thought he was the one with the drive-through so that completely ruined his race.

“Fourth in race one was a good result, if he’d been able to get into third off the start we’re sure he’d have been on the podium.

“Josh and Alice both raced very well and made up a lot of places. Qualifying was the problem, again, and left them a lot of hard work to do.

“Considering where they both started each race, their results were pretty strong.”

l Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the final two rounds this weekend.