EXCELLENT DRIVE BY HERRON GIVES POSITIVE END TO LUCKLESS WEEKEND Determined to conclude the first half of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup on a positive note, Co. Down racer Andrew Herron produced one of the best drives of his career at Croft...
EXCELLENT DRIVE BY HERRON GIVES POSITIVE END TO LUCKLESS WEEKEND
Determined to conclude the first half of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup on a positive note, Co. Down racer Andrew Herron produced one of the best drives of his career at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire yesterday, Sunday, 14th June, to keep his grip on a top three championship position.
Suffering terrible misfortune in qualifying and the first of the weekend's races, round nine, on Saturday, 13th June, the JHR Developments star was fully focused on achieving as many points as possible in round 10 and this he did with a tremendous rise through the order from 16th on the grid into the top seven.
In Saturday morning's half-hour qualifying session, the Brian Herron Contracts backed racer hit problems on his sixth lap when his car was pitched round and into retirement after clipping the kerbs too hard at Hawthorn. Causing fairly major front-end damage, Andrew was unable to rejoin the remainder of the session and ended up with an uncharacteristic 15th fastest time.
His team did a good job to get the car repaired in time for round nine and at the start the 21-year-old made a very impressive getaway and gained several positions as he started to knock on the door of the top 10. Yet again, bad luck struck his progress when a moment at Tower Bend involving a couple of other drivers triggered an incident which forced Andrew out in the gravel trap.
Managing to rejoin the circuit and valiantly trying to regain lost ground, the Dromore racer was then forced to retire to the pits at the end of his fifth lap with the front end of his Clio dragging on the track, a hugely disappointing first non-score of the campaign.
Starting Sunday's 10th round from 16th on the grid, Andrew wanted nothing short of a top 10 finish and as the race got underway he scythed his way through the order to move into the top 12 by the time he reached the Jim Clark Esses. Gaining two more positions before the end of the lap, into the second tour Andrew was already in 10th and then he moved into ninth shortly after.
Applying a great deal of pressure to Stephen Tyldsley, the attention paid off on lap three when the latter ran wide at Tower to give Andrew a golden opportunity to bag eighth position. Immediately on the case of seventh-placed Aron Smith, Andrew looked every which way for a chance to pass but Smith served up stern defence for about three laps.
The breakthrough came on lap six when Smith ran slightly wide at Sunny In and Andrew shot up the inside to grab seventh place. Frustratingly, the delay of being stuck behind Smith for so many laps had allowed the top six to pull well clear. On lap 12, the Northern Irishman took the flag in a fighting seventh place to cap off a superb effort.
"I'm hoping this weekend is where we use up all of our bad luck", said Andrew, "Qualifying was unfortunate and then in the race I'd made a great start and was right there at the back of the top 10 but then we had the incident at Tower. It does happen like this occasionally, we had similar bad luck at times last year in SEATs, but I hope we can get back on the podium at Silverstone next time out.
"The second race was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it. The pace was there for sure and we were still fast even though I cracked a hole in the sump and oil started to leak out. After the weekend we'd had, I just kept pushing on regardless. We ended the weekend better than it started and to still be third in the championship after all the problems we had is good news."
ELF Renault Clio Cup competitors now have a three week break from race action with rounds 11 and 12 of the season taking place at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on 4th/5th July as part of the World Series by Renault's annual visit to the UK.
Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd10): 1st Philip Glew, 301pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 267pts; 3rd Andrew Herron, 191pts