MAIDEN WIN EDGES EVER CLOSER FOR RAPID HERRON Northern Ireland's Andrew Herron came within a lap of securing a memorable first win of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup season at Donington Park on Sunday, 17th May, when an inspired tyre gamble in...
MAIDEN WIN EDGES EVER CLOSER FOR RAPID HERRON
Northern Ireland's Andrew Herron came within a lap of securing a memorable first win of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup season at Donington Park on Sunday, 17th May, when an inspired tyre gamble in wet, yet drying, conditions almost paid off during the sixth round of the year.
By far the fastest driver on the circuit, his eventual quickest lap of the race of 1m19.945 seconds (88.13mph), over two seconds quicker than anything managed by his podium rivals, the 20-year-old had to tread carefully during the first part of the race after taking a decision to run on slick tyres with a view the track would dry sufficiently by the end.
Slipping from fourth to seventh early on, just a handful of laps into the race the Dromore-based star soon began to pick-up his pace as the drying line started to appear more and more and by lap seven he was back into the top four.
Reeling off a sequence of fastest race laps from mid-distance right up to the finish on lap 14, Andrew ate mercilessly into the healthy advantage held by the top three drivers and closed by a phenomenal two seconds per lap on the trio ahead. Unfortunately though, a small moment at the Old Hairpin did lose him valuable time on lap 10 -- as it turned out, more time than the gap to the winner at the finish.
Heading into the final lap, the JHR Developments racer continued to push and posted his best lap of the race on that final tour, gaining him an extra two bonus points for his championship total. In the end though, he had to settle for a fighting fourth position -- just two seconds shy of the top three and only three seconds away from race winner Aron Smith.
While motor racing is full of 'what might have been' stories, with just another lap, Andrew would most certainly have taken his fifth podium of the campaign. As it turned out though, fourth place was still an excellent return and sees the Brian Herron Contracts supported driver close to within 34 points of championship leader Philip Glew.
Commenting on the race, Andrew said: "I made the decision to go on slick tyres all round but I was surprised at the pace of the guys with slicks on the front and wet tyres on the rear at the start. I didn't think they'd be as quick to be honest but for me, the first nine laps were just about keeping the car on the track and waiting for the conditions to come to me.
"I could see I was catching people between two and three seconds per lap, I pushed more but going through Old Hairpin I took too much kerb which lost me three and a half seconds. Looking at the results sheet after the race, that three and a half seconds would have put me in first place! All in all it's been a good weekend, in the dry I was quicker than anybody -- just a shame about the great British weather in the second race!"
Rounds seven and eight of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup will take place a fortnight from now over the weekend 30th/31st May at Oulton Park Island Circuit in Cheshire.
Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd6): 1st Philip Glew, 175pts; 2nd Aron Smith, 148pts; 4th Andrew Herron, 141pts