HERRON REMAINS IN CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 10 AT ROCKINGHAM Northern Ireland's Andrew Herron had to fight tooth and nail during a chaotic second round of the 2007 ELF Renault Clio Cup at Rockingham Motor Speedway earlier today, Sunday, 22nd April, to ...
HERRON REMAINS IN CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 10 AT ROCKINGHAM
Northern Ireland's Andrew Herron had to fight tooth and nail during a chaotic second round of the 2007 ELF Renault Clio Cup at Rockingham Motor Speedway earlier today, Sunday, 22nd April, to stand any chance of keeping a grip on his place inside the championship top 10.
The 18-year-old, driving for JHR Developments with backing from Brian Herron Contracts Ltd, showed great resolve after sustaining damage during the opening lap of a shortened race at the Northamptonshire venue this afternoon to claim a 12th place finish, and with it nine points, to ensure he returns to Co. Down 10th in the series title race.
Starting the weekend in great shape during Friday's two free practice sessions, the Dromore-based star continued his good form throughout qualifying on Saturday to secure a second row start for his group heat. Although ending the eight-lap outing in sixth place, hopes were high for a strong performance this afternoon.
Having starred at Brands Hatch as one of the fastest rookies in the fiercely competitive Clio Cup during the season-opener three weeks ago, finishing ninth on his series debut, Andrew hoped for an equally strong run in round two but it was a case of what might have been after being shunted on lap one of the main race.
Initially making a good getaway, the Northern Irishman was forced wide on the run to Deene Hairpin on the opening lap and with several cars tangling Andrew was lucky to emerge from the chaos relatively unscathed.
Heading through Gracelands side-by-side with Chris Rice, the JHR ace then sustained damage to his steering which ended up being the decisive factor in his race. Entering lap two down in 14th position -- having started two places higher -- Andrew did benefit from some good fortune towards the end of the race when two cars encountered problems.
Finishing in 12th place, in a race shortened from 14 to nine laps due to time restrictions regarding the live ITV3 broadcast of the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day, Andrew heads to Thruxton for round three two weeks from now fairly happy to be 10th in the championship.
"It was chaos out there today", commented Andrew, "Myself and Dan (Eagling) got a good enough start but then all I could see in my mirrors was a black car hurtling into the back of me which forced me wide. A lot of cars hit each other at the first hairpin and then my car got damaged through Gracelands when I was alongside Chris Rice.
"My steering had gone after that, it was a struggle to keep cars behind me, but I had to try my best and I was fortunate enough to pick up a couple of extra places when two cars went off near the end."
He added: "Starting in 12th place and finishing in 12th isn't a disaster. In Friday practice we had the pace to be in the top five and then after qualifying fourth for the heat, a 10th of a second off pole, everything looked rosy. I felt I had the pace to run at the front today but the damaged steering ensured we couldn't mount much of a challenge."
Andrew, who chooses three as his race number in honour of his racing hero, the late Ulster motorcycling legend Joey Dunlop, makes his next outing in the Renault Clio Cup a fortnight from now, 5th/6th May, at the ultra-fast Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire for round three of the 2007 season.