HERRON IMPRESSES WITH SUPERB DRIVE ON PORSCHE CARRERA CUP DEBUT Rising motor racing star Andrew Herron thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of competitive action in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Knockhill in Scotland over the weekend,...
HERRON IMPRESSES WITH SUPERB DRIVE ON PORSCHE CARRERA CUP DEBUT
Rising motor racing star Andrew Herron thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of competitive action in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Knockhill in Scotland over the weekend, 15th/16th August, after impressing teams up and down the paddock with an outstanding debut performance.
The talented 21-year-old, from Dromore in Northern Ireland, races full-time in the ELF Renault Clio Cup this year but had the opportunity to make his maiden appearance in a Porsche at Knockhill as part of his prize for being a finalist in the Carrera Cup Scholarship Programme at the end of 2008. His best result of the weekend came during round 13, a superb eighth place his reward after a great drive.
Faced with a wet track during testing on Friday, 14th August, and then with high winds and changeable conditions for qualifying on Saturday, 15th August, Andrew worked well with the mechanics running the Porsche 'VIP' car and quickly got to grips with the huge step-up in power compared to the Renault Clio he has been racing all year.
More regularly used to 200bhp, front-wheel drive saloon car action, the Brian Herron Contracts supported driver had to rapidly adapt to the rear-engined 425bhp Porsche sportscar for his first ever race in such machinery but he did so with terrific professionalism and ability.
Qualifying in 11th position in the wet session -- even though he only utilised one set of tyres compared to most other drivers running two -- Andrew chose to run with slick rubber during the first race of the weekend which started on a drying track. In the end, tyre choice would prove critical and with Andrew having had no practice time in dry conditions his race performance was all the more impressive.
Making a good start to round 13, Andrew held on to his placing for the first six laps before experienced campaigner Charles Bateman managed to get by. Embroiled in a tight battle with Lewis Hopkins, Oliver Jackson and Bateman, the guest driver more than held his own and as the slick tyres started to work better and better, Andrew began to move up the order.
By lap 15 he had moved into ninth place and rapidly caught former champion James Sutton, who was on wet-weather tyres. By the 18th tour, Andrew was into the top seven and lapping very quickly before then passing reigning champion Tim Harvey for sixth position on the following lap. On lap 22 though, an unfortunate spin at the hairpin dropped him to 11th but he fought back brilliantly into eighth.
"I'm really pleased with the way my first race went", commented the category debutant, "We weren't sure how quick we could be in the dry later in the race and I hadn't had chance to test in those conditions but everything worked out well. To climb into the top six was fantastic, it was just a shame I had the spin but it was my own fault -- I just tapped the power on too early."
Herron emerges unscathed from 140mph accident Round 14 wasn't as fruitful for Andrew with the Co.Down racer pitched into a spin and a huge impact with the tyre barriers after contact from the car of Derek Pierce at the beginning of the final lap while battling over 10th place.
Starting the race in 12th position, Andrew performed well as part of an entertaining scrap involving half a dozen drivers and as the 30-lap encounter neared its conclusion he ran in 10th place. Into lap 28, he and Pierce were very close together and the pair appeared to make slight contact.
On the next tour at the hairpin, the Scotsman got ahead but the two ran side by side up the straight to the finish line as the race entered its final lap. With Andrew on the outside and Pierce on the inside, neither looked set to cede position into SEAT Curve but as they braked from around 140mph, the rear of Pierce's car stepped out and hit the 'VIP' Porsche sending it into a spin and heavy collision.
Thankfully, with the exception of a sore leg and neck, Andrew emerged unscathed from the massive accident but it obviously meant an immediate retirement -- a disappointing end to an otherwise tremendous debut weekend in Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
The Northern Irishman said: "I really felt we had the pace to be on the podium in race two and I didn't expect to be that fast! Once I got past (Lewis) Hopkins and (Oliver) Jackson I reeled in Derek (Pierce) and I could see he was struggling with his braking. When I got by him my next target was Robert (Lawson) and I pushed hard to pass him but I made a mistake and that allowed Derek to get back past.
"I'm not sure what happened on the last lap, I think Derek must have locked up under braking and then went into the side of me. It was an unfortunate way to end the weekend but I really enjoyed every minute of the opportunity Porsche gave me."
He added: "I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at Porsche and the guys at the team, they did a fantastic job. I think I probably learned more this weekend than I have all season in the Clio, it's been a fantastic chance and Porsche is where I'd like to be next season. Ideally, I want to do a few more tests as this weekend has proven I can be competitive."
Andrew will return to his regular Clio Cup race car a fortnight from now, 29th/30th August, when the 2009 ELF Renault Clio Cup resumes at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire for rounds 15 and 16 of the season.