Career best SEAT result for Herron

SEAT Cupra Championship rookie Andrew Herron secured his best ever finish in the category with a richly deserved second place during the eighth round of the 2008 season at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, Sunday, 18th May.Racing over the weekend in memory of late motorcycling legend, and family friend, Robert Dunlop who tragically died last Thursday after an accident during the practice session for the North West 200 road race in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, 19-year-old Andrew produced an inspired drive to claim his second podium of the season.In turn, the result – combined with a top six finish during the earlier seventh round – sees the Co. Down native climb into sixth position in the championship standings as he begins to become more and more comfortable at the wheel of his JHR Developments run car.The Northern Irishman, who lives in Dromore and is backed by Brian Herron Contracts, headed into the weekend aiming for two consistent results and after a titanic battle in round eight, where he actually took the chequered flag third on the road, Andrew was later handed second when team-mate Robert Lawson was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage at the chicane.Commenting on his best ever SEAT Cupra Championship result, Andrew said: “It’s been a good weekend all in all, I’m delighted to be on the podium again and it’s good to be showing much more consistency now. During the Thruxton test a few weeks ago we were quick and so always had the confidence we’d be strong here.“I’d like to dedicate my second place to Robert Dunlop who died tragically on Thursday back home in Northern Ireland. He was a motorcycling legend and a great friend of my dad’s so we’re all devastated. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family.”Qualifying for round eight second on the grid with a great lap during the second session on Saturday afternoon, Andrew made a good getaway at the beginning of the race but lost out initially to fast-starting pair Jonathan Adam and Daniel Welch.Contact between the two, however, enabled Andrew to squeeze through and retake second place behind Adam as Welch had a spin. Martin Byford moved into third position but Andrew dealt superbly well with the pressure from his vastly more experienced rival.Staying in touch with race leader, and reigning SEAT Cupra Champion, Adam during the early stages, from mid-distance the JHR teenager started to come under greater scrutiny but he did very well to keep Byford – the 2007 ELF Renault Clio Cup Champion – at bay.On lap eight at the chicane Byford braked incredibly late around the outside to try and usurp Andrew from second place and he succeeded. It wasn’t that straight-forward though and as Byford edged ahead of Andrew, the resulting slower exits from the turn meant Robert Lawson was forced to cut through the chicane to avoid a collision.Moving Lawson up into second position, Byford took third and Welch slotted into fourth as Andrew was shuffled back to fifth place – the latter thinking any chance of a podium result had evaporated there and then.However, on the 12th and final lap of the race, a lunge from fourth placed Welch on Byford resulted in both cars running wide at the complex. Andrew, displaying maturity far belying his experience, read the situation ahead brilliantly and as the two squabbling SEAT cars returned to the circuit, the Northern Ireland ace nipped through into third.Taking the chequered flag with the final podium place in his grasp, the Northern Ireland ace was later promoted to second position when Lawson was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage on lap eight at the chicane.During the earlier seventh round of the campaign, Andrew started on the second row of the grid in fourth place but a difficult getaway dropped him to seventh place. He moved back into the top six though at the end of lap one at the expense of Jeremy Gumbley and remained there to the chequered flag.“The first race didn’t go our way but I felt very comfortable in sixth place just watching and waiting to see what happened ahead”, said Andrew, “I didn’t want do anything risky and was quite happy to take the points for sixth place knowing I was second on the grid for race two.“It was good to have had the pace on Robert (Lawson) at times this weekend, he actually said to me I drove a better race than him in round eight. There are six drivers who I believe can win races in the championship this year and I’m the youngest and most inexperienced of them so I’m very happy with how things are progressing.”There are now just two weeks to wait until the ninth and 10th rounds of the 2008 season which will take place at North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit on 31st May/1st June.Provisional 2008 SEAT Cupra Championship Driver Standings (after Rd8)1st Robert Lawson, 139pts; 2nd Martin Byford, 118pts; 6th Andrew Herron, 75pts