CLIO ACE HERRON MAINTAINS SERIES TOP THREE DESPITE OULTON PUNCTURE Andrew Herron was happy to emerge from the fourth race meeting of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup still holding a top three position in the championship standings yesterday,...
CLIO ACE HERRON MAINTAINS SERIES TOP THREE DESPITE OULTON PUNCTURE
Andrew Herron was happy to emerge from the fourth race meeting of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup still holding a top three position in the championship standings yesterday, Sunday, 31st May, after a slow puncture during round eight cost him vital points.
Beginning the race from seventh on the grid, the Northern Irishman didn't make the start he wanted but did pressurise sixth placed Carl Bradley during the opening exchanges as he tried to find a way through to latch on to the tail of the leading bunch.
Unbeknown to the JHR Developments star though, his Clio had picked up a slow puncture early on in the race and this loss of tyre pressure was beginning to compromise his pace. At Cascades on lap three he slid slightly wide on the exit but managed to hold on to seventh place as he soldiered on.
Even with the problem, his racecraft was such that the 20-year-old managed to get past Bradley at Hislop's on lap five and he then set-about catching Aron Smith ahead. Unfortunately though, the tyre issue got worse and he dropped to ninth place by lap eight.
On the run out of Island Bend on the same lap, the Dromore-based youngster was visibly losing more pace and both Sam Tordoff and David Dickenson attempted to pass Andrew as they headed up the rise towards Hill Top. With Dickenson on the left and Tordoff on the right, everything became very tight and the result was contact between Andrew's two rivals as he, luckily, managed to avoid incident.
The Safety Car was deployed on lap nine due to the cars of Tordoff and Dickenson being stranded in the tyre barriers near Hill Top. As the remaining cars ran under caution though up towards Druids, Andrew's Clio snapped away as the punctured tyre finally came off the wheel rim and he went slamming into the tyre barriers.
Just a few moments later officials decided to show red flags to bring the race to an early conclusion so, counting the results back a lap as per the regulations, the Brian Herron Contracts-supported driver was classified in ninth place and so added 12 points to his series total.
Reflecting on Sunday's action, Andrew said: "I didn't have a great start although I did manage to get into sixth but I picked up a slow puncture somewhere around the lap early on and that's why I started to drop back later on.
"When we got to Druids under the Safety Car near the end, I backed off a little bit more than the cars ahead as I wasn't sure if I'd over heated the tyres too much and that was the reason I'd been falling back. That's when the tyre came completely off the rim and I went straight into the barriers."
He added: "The positive thing is that we still scored points on countback so we're still third in the championship but the car did take a big hit with damage to the front including suspension, the radiator etc. It's a shame but weekends like this do happen during a season, I'm sure we'll be back on track and fighting for podiums at Croft in a couple of weeks."
Rounds nine and 10 of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup will take place two weeks from now, 13th/14th June, at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire -- the venue of Andrew's first car racing victory back in 2007.
Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd8): 1st Philip Glew, 239pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 205pts; 3rd Andrew Herron, 175pts