Jordan King fought right the way to the chequered flag to clinch the runner-up spoils in the finale to the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship campaign at Hockenheim, in what he described as one of his finest and most enjoyable races of the season.
King headed for Hockenheim with happy memories and a strong track record around the popular German Grand Prix venue, and in qualifying, duly placed his Carlin-prepared, Volkswagen-powered Dallara single-seater fifth, fourth and fifth on the starting grid for the three races.
In the first of them, an abortive overtaking attempt on the opening lap cost the gifted Warwickshire ace ground, but he turned up the heat on champion Esteban Ocon in the duel for sixth and made the position his own after running side-by-side through three consecutive corners in the Stadium section on lap nine.
He subsequently zeroed in on Felix Rosenqvist in fifth, reducing the gap from 2.5 seconds to barely seven-tenths before an errant backmarker scuppered his charge.
In the second outing, following early wheel-to-wheel dices with both Ocon and soon-to-be Formula 1 graduate Max Verstappen, King was forced to pit to rectify some front wing damage.
Consequently slipping from inside the top six to outside the top 20, the Stoneleigh-based driver battled his way through the order and was just two spots shy of the points when the red flags flew for an accident a lap from the end.
An impressively feisty and assertive opening lap in the third and final encounter saw King gain two places in successive manoeuvres and even make a bid to snatch second.
From there, he pulled clear of the pursuing pack and set his sights on relieving countryman Tom Blomqvist of the runners-up laurels.
Shadowing his Carlin stablemate throughout but suffering from running in the dirty air, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) SuperStar, MSA Team UK protégé and former McLaren Autosport Award finalist spied his chance on the penultimate lap and seized it to steal away second position.
His seventh rostrum result of the campaign secured King P7 in the overall classification and as he prepares to take the next step up the motorsport ladder, it was a superb springboard towards 2015.
“Second position was a fantastic way to finish the season - particularly as we had to fight so hard and really earn it against some of the best young drivers in the world,” said the 20-year-old.
“I genuinely do believe European F3 this year has been the strongest single-seater category outside of F1, and although we’ve had a tough season at times and things haven’t always gone our way, to sign off with one of our best races and show that we can be a force to be reckoned with is tremendously rewarding and a real source of encouragement ahead of the next step.”