HERRON AS CLOSE AS EVER TO FIRST 2009 WIN AT SILVERSTONE GP ELF Renault Clio Cup title contender Andrew Herron came within just four 10ths of a second of claiming his first win of the 2009 season at a packed Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit ...
HERRON AS CLOSE AS EVER TO FIRST 2009 WIN AT SILVERSTONE GP
ELF Renault Clio Cup title contender Andrew Herron came within just four 10ths of a second of claiming his first win of the 2009 season at a packed Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit yesterday, Sunday, 5th July, following an exceptionally good drive during round 12 of the campaign.
Competing in front of 135,000 spectators over the course of the weekend as part of the British visit of the World Series by Renault package, the 21-year-old from Dromore, Co. Down, pressed the vastly more experienced Stefan Hodgetts all the way to the chequered flag in race two but, try as he might, couldn't quite find a way through.
Nonetheless, Andrew's second runner-up spot of the season was a well deserved result and, added to a fourth place finish in round 11, means he has closed to within 31 points of Alex MacDowall who is currently second in the driver standings. In total, the JHR Developments racer has now secured five podiums from the first 12 races of the 20-round season.
"I don't know what I have to do to get my first win of the year!", said Andrew following round 12, "I had a good car and I was driving well but there was just no way past Stefan (Hodgetts), he defended really well and made it impossible for me to make a pass. The second half of the season is a new start for me, I want to be on the podium every weekend and I see no reason why we can't be.
"I want to say a big thank you to my dad, Brian, and to Steve (Hunter) at JHR for making the weekend happen, there were doubts over whether we'd be racing or not -- the deal only came together on Thursday morning. Hopefully we'll have a new sponsor on-board for Snetterton, we're working really hard to make that happen."
Lining up fifth on the grid for round 11, Andrew got away quite well from the line but ran a touch wide at Copse Corner on the opening lap and therefore dropped to sixth position but recovered the place quickly on lap two. Slipping back behind championship rival Alex MacDowall on lap three, Andrew lay in sixth place until the seventh tour when he slotted back into the top five.
Contact between reigning Clio Cup champion Ben Winrow and MacDowall on lap seven at Luffield, however, resulted in a both drivers retiring and this allowed Andrew to nip through into fourth position where he would remain to the flag.
Better was to come in round 12 when the Brian Herron Contracts-supported Northern Irishman got away well from the grid to hold third place on the opening lap, running tight to the rear of second placed Philip Glew's car. On lap three at Vale, Glew biffed the back of race-leader Stefan Hodgetts' car and the delay for the former enabled Andrew to grab second place.
Posting the fastest lap of the race at that point on lap four, the JHR racer moved to within six 10ths of a second of the ultra-defensive Hodgetts who just wasn't prepared to give even the slightest glimpse of a passing opportunity.
On lap seven, Andrew was almost attached to the rear of Hodgetts' car as they headed through Stowe but try as he might, a clear-cut opportunity didn't present itself. Driving beautifully, he was in the end forced to settle for second position but the result equals his best of the season so far. Crossing the line just 0.409 seconds shy of Hodgetts, the youngster was delighted to be back on the podium.
The 13th and 14th rounds of the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup will be held four weeks from now over the weekend 1st/2nd August at Snetterton Circuit. Andrew wasn't able to attend the official mid-season test at the Norfolk track the week before last but he is nonetheless confident he should go well when the Clio Cup rejoins the support package of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Provisional 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup Driver Standings (after Rd12): 1st Philip Glew, 349pts; 2nd Alex MacDowall, 270pts; 3rd Andrew Herron, 239pts