Jordon Lennox-Lamb: Everyone knows we're back now! Jordon Lennox-Lamb was in ebullient spirits at the end of his most recent WSK International Series outing at Castelletto in Italy, after being clattered into in three of the four heats only to...
Jordon Lennox-Lamb: Everyone knows we're back now!
Jordon Lennox-Lamb was in ebullient spirits at the end of his most recent WSK International Series outing at Castelletto in Italy, after being clattered into in three of the four heats only to fight back superbly in the grand final as he proved to be practically the fastest driver on the circuit en route to snatching a top six position at the chequered flag.
Off the back of a peerless double victory in the opening meeting on his 2009 Super 1 Series schedule, the young Bedford karting star travelled to the Lombard region ready to do battle with 89 KF2 class rivals of the very highest international calibre around. With the engine woes that had hampered his previous appearances now happily a thing of the past, he was able to attack from the word 'go' - but qualifying only tenth in group and 26th overall was emphatically not on the agenda.
"We didn't go out at all on the Thursday because it was raining," he related, "but on the Friday we were in the top ten throughout the day, and top five most of the time, so it was all looking good. The competition was pretty tough, but still I was expecting to be a lot higher up in qualifying.
"We had tyre problems, in that we had set the kart up so that it was really fast on race rubber, but when we put the qualifying tyres on the kart was sliding around a lot and that made everything new for us. That put me quite a long way back, but there were some other good drivers around me and I worked together with Felice Tiene to get towards the front in the heats.
"The Saturday was overcast and the weather was changeable. That meant it was a case of guessing what tyres you needed to be on and what tyre pressures to go with. The aim for the heats was just to do the best I could from the grid positions I had. There was a bit of pressure on me given where I was starting, but I got the starts perfect every time; I was just incredibly unlucky when it came to other drivers spinning in front of me.
"In the first heat I got taken out and fell outside of the top ten, and after that it was really difficult to overtake because there was only one dry line - every time I went for a move I would just slide into the side of them because I couldn't slow down in time, even though we were the fastest on the track.
"In fact, in three of the four heats I had made up a lot of ground and was doing really well, and then someone would just spin in front of me when I had nowhere to go. After the third heat I thought I would be in the repêchage, but I managed to just do enough to get straight through to the finals."
Indeed, with just a single top ten finish to his name from the heat races, Jordon narrowly avoided having to compete in the second-chance repêchage - classifying 23rd in the intermediate rankings, with only 28 drivers progressing automatically through to the two finals - and he at least had the consolation of knowing that his speed and potential had actually been a lot better than the results indicated. He would go on to prove as much in the pre-final.
"We had lost a little bit of pace due to carburation issues when the temperature went up," explained the Top Kart ace, "but we tried a different axle in the warm-up for the finals and that seemed to do the trick, because straightaway we were fourth-quickest. That brought my confidence back up for the pre-final - and everyone knew I was still capable of being right up there.
"In the pre-final me and Tiene worked together again and pushed each other up the order. I could have finished inside the top ten, but I clashed with Sami Luka when I went for a move on him. He wasn't having any of it and just drove me off the track. I managed to get two places back on the last lap, though, which was good."
Eleventh at the chequered flag again belied a fastest lap time a scant four hundredths of a second off that of the race-winner despite having had to battle his way through traffic, and in the grand final the Kimbolton Road teenager would go even quicker still, despite having to deal with the distinctly unwelcome attentions of a trio of Tony Karts midway through...
"I was always chasing just one driver rather than catching a big pack of them," he recounted, "but then I caught Ben Cooper, Chris Lock and Matteo Beretta - three Tony Karts all together. I was a bit wary of them working with each other to try and push me back, and as I went for a move Beretta tried to hang on around the outside. We touched, which dropped me to 16th.
"One of the track rods had a little kink in it after that, which made the kart pull a bit in a straight line. I had to work my way through again, and my front brakes were steaming by the end, because I was really having to pull off some late lunges. It was quite a good result having started at the back in the pre-final.
"I honestly reckon a podium could have been on, though, because we were really fast. Round that track a lot of drivers were consistently lapping in the same time bracket, but the times I was doing consistently other drivers could only do now and again. The team was really happy with my performance, but we all knew it could have been such a good result. I was pleased that we were back on the pace, though - and everyone knows we're back now."
That they certainly do, and Jordon only missed out on setting the quickest lap in the grand final by the narrowest of margins - faster than all five of the competitors who finished ahead of him, and behind only a driver who had completed just half a dozen laps in the pre-final, and who was therefore on significantly newer rubber. What's more, his flawless commitment, pace and regularity have enabled the Palmer Sport employee to leap up no fewer than ten places into 17th in the championship chase.
As he now looks to maintain his perfect 100 per cent winning record in the second round on the Super 1 calendar at Shenington - a track at which he encouragingly triumphed in both Winter Series meetings - Jordon has similarly raised the bar for his next WSK outing, at Genk in Belgium, a circuit he knows well.
"I know I'm fast around Genk," he asserted. "It should be a lot easier than at Castelletto - and personally I think we can win."