Herrons Knockhill Hopes Dashed

BY POWER PROBLEMS  Andrew Herron’s maiden outing at Knockhill Circuit in Scotland didn’t go according to plan over the weekend, 16th/17th August, as problems with an under-performing engine ruined his chances of fighting for a pair of top finishes in the 15th and 16th rounds of the SEAT Cupra Championship.Thankfully retaining fifth place in the driver standings, the 20-year-old Northern Irishman left the Fife track on Sunday evening highly frustrated with the thought of what might have been having shown excellent pace in the second race of the weekend due to the use of a brand new turbo on his SEAT Leon Cupra.Struggling for straight-line speed throughout qualifying on Saturday, Dromore-based Andrew drove as hard as he could but was still only able to manage the 12th fastest time in the round 15 session and the 11th quickest lap during round 16 qualifying.His problems continued into the first of Sunday’s races when he fought as hard as he has all season to try and hold on to a top 10 finish. Lapping almost a second off the sort of pace he would have expected, the Brian Herron Contracts backed star simply didn’t have the power available to try and challenge the cars ahead.Attempting to identify the root cause of Andrew’s mysterious lack of pace, the JHR Developments mechanics opted to fit a new turbo to his engine during the build-up to round 16 and come the start of the race, it did appear to go a long way to solving the problems he had suffered from all weekend up to that point.Lining up on row six, Andrew made a decent getaway and it became immediately obvious his car was more competitive on the straights. By lap 12 he was up into eighth position – at a circuit noted for its overtaking difficulty in SEAT Cupras – and then latched onto a train of cars stretching all the way to the final podium place.With just four seconds covering Carl Breeze in third place to Jeremy Gumbley in eighth position at the finish, the result underlined the competitiveness of the race. Andrew came home in seventh after getting by Gumbley with a neat piece of opportunist passing which began at Real Radio Hairpin on lap 21.At the round 16 chequered flag, Andrew was just two 10ths of a second shy of a top six finish and only 1.5 seconds away from Martin Byford in fourth. His lap times were much more promising too – in fact, Andrew’s best of 55.240 seconds came on lap 16 and matched Byford’s quickest time of the race.Speaking at the end of perhaps his most frustrating weekend of the season, Andrew said: “Fitting the new turbo before race two made a big difference, we don’t know if it has totally cured the problem or just helped for now but the team will check everything over at the workshop and see where we stand.“With the car more sorted for race two we showed what we could do in terms of pace, even at a track I’ve never been to before. If we had started the second race on the second or third rows we’d have had a good result. I’m pleased we seemed to have decent pace in round 16 but it’s been a disappointing weekend all in all.”

He added: “I was massively quicker than the cars ahead in the second one but just couldn’t get by. Knockhill is a very tough circuit to pass at in a one-make series like SEAT. Even though I’d never been to Knockhill before this weekend, I did have quite high hopes, it’s very frustrating the way it all turned out.” There are just two weeks to wait until the next two rounds of SEAT Cupra Championship action which will be held at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire over the weekend 30th/31st August – the penultimate event of the 2008 season.Provisional 2008 SEAT Cupra Championship Driver Standings (after Rd16):1st Robert Lawson, 262pts; 2nd Jonathan Adam, 248pts; 5th Andrew Herron, 153pts