Second Front-Row Of Season For Herron

Northern Ireland’s Andrew Herron continued his excellent form during qualifying for the seventh and eighth rounds of the 2008 SEAT Cupra Championship today, Saturday, 17th May, at Thruxton in Hampshire – a front row start for the second of Sunday’s races the undoubted highlight.The 19-year-old Dromore-based racer, who is seventh in the driver standings heading into this weekend’s action at the fastest venue on the SEAT calendar, not only matched his season’s best qualifying performance today but is in great shape to challenge for a double podium result on Sunday in his Brian Herron Contracts backed car.Lapping with a best time of 1m 19.158 seconds (107.14mph) to secure a second row start for today's seventh round of the season, Andrew improved during round eight qualifying to record the second fastest time with a lap of 1m 18.694 seconds (107.77mph) after a total of just four laps.“I’ve carried my form on from Donington, it’s good to be back up there at the front and prove that Donington wasn’t a one-off”, said Andrew after qualifying, “Second place on the grid is good, it’s only one position away from where I want to be! On my best lap I didn’t quite get the chicane right but overall I’m very happy with how things have gone.“If it goes well, especially in the second race where my team-mate Robert (Lawson) is alongside me on the front row, hopefully we’ll be able to get a one-two for the team. JHR is doing a great job, my other team-mate James Appleby qualified in the top eight for the second race so it shows the team is doing a good job and the cars are in great shape.”An interesting fact to consider after today’s qualifying sessions is that Andrew’s quickest lap of the day, 1m 18.694 seconds, would have been quick enough to place him 13th on the grid for the first of tomorrow’s three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Thruxton.Such is the performance of the 2008 SEAT Leon Cupra, the Northern Irishman lapped the 2.35-mile circuit almost seven 10ths of a second quicker in his qualifying session than compatriot Steven Kane managed at the wheel of his BMW 320si during the half hour BTCC qualifying period!Herron to race in memory of Ulster motorcycling hero Robert DunlopWhile delighted to have produced another highly competitive performance as he gets ever more comfortable at the wheel of his JHR Developments run SEAT, the weekend has taken on a much greater significance for Andrew and the entire Herron family following the tragic passing of legendary Ulster motorcycling great Robert Dunlop.An accident during Thursday’s practice for the famous North West 200 motorcycle road race in County Antrim resulted in the tragedy which is yet another hammer blow to the Dunlop family; Robert’s brother Joey – Andrew’s childhood hero – having lost his own life just eight years ago during an event in Estonia.The immediate thoughts of the Herron family as a whole are with their close friends the Dunlops and as a mark of respect, Andrew will be competing in his SEAT this weekend in memory of 47-year-old Robert who was a great friend to Andrew’s father Brian.“We’re all devastated at Robert’s death”, commented Andrew, “Our families have been very close for years and we can understand the pain the Dunlops are all going through as my cousin Tom died in a motorcycle race.“I’ve always raced with number three on my car in remembrance of Robert’s brother Joey so tomorrow I’ll be aiming to do the best I can in memory of Robert. My dad knew Robert really well, they were great friends, so I hope tomorrow I can achieve some good results for the Dunlops.”Andrew added: “Robert’s son Michael won his bike race at the North West today just two days after seeing his dad lose his life – that takes some doing. The Dunlops are a real motorsport family and Robert is another hero lost to the roads again. The road racers deserve more respect than anybody, I take my hat off to every one of them.”Racing in memory of the late, great Robert Dunlop today, Sunday, 18th May, Andrew will line up for round seven of the 2008 SEAT Cupra Championship at approximately 12.15 with round eight timetabled to follow at approximately 17.30. Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4 will broadcast live from Thruxton throughout the afternoon, beginning at 12.30, and there is the possibility some of the SEAT action will be screened – check listings for details.Provisional 2008 SEAT Cupra Championship Driver Standings (after Rd6)1st Robert Lawson, 111pts; 2nd Martin Byford, 93pts; 7th Andrew Herron, 49pts

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