Jordan King raced to his sixth podium finish of the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship campaign at Imola last weekend.
Following a long summer break, the single-seater series revved back into life with a two-day test around the legendary Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari - formerly home to the San Marino Grand Prix.
The Stoneleigh driver pulled a stunning last-gasp effort out of the bag in a red flag-disrupted qualifying session to place his Carlin-prepared, Volkswagen-powered Dallara on the front row of the starting grid for race one, outpacing new Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 recruit Max Verstappen for good measure.
When the lights went out, a slipping clutch unfortunately scuppered King’s hopes of leapfrogging pole-sitter Esteban Ocon, but he successfully defended second position and following an early safety car period, set about maintaining the pressure on the champion-elect, a Lotus F1 Junior protégé.
Remaining well within two seconds of his quarry throughout, the highly-rated 20-year-old pushed hard right to the chequered flag, flashing across the finish line barely a second-and-a-half adrift to clinch the runner-up spoils.
In the weekend’s second encounter, King spent almost as much time off the track as on it in avoidance of rivals’ mistakes. Describing it as “probably the worst race of my life - no matter where I positioned my car, I seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time at every opportunity”, he wound up an uncharacteristically lowly 19th when he had looked to be on-course for a solid points haul.
The third outing was scarcely better, with King finding himself squeezed on to the grass on the opening lap and - following no fewer than three safety car periods - finishing just outside the points in 11th.
Quipping that it was “definitely a weekend of two halves”, King now has one remaining chance to break his European duck in the Hockenheim finale this weekend.