Race ace Luke Herbert got his 2014 season off to a successful start at Rockingham by claiming a second-place finish in round two of the Michelin Clio Cup race series.
Although a collision in race one eliminated the multiple category race winner at the third corner of the Northamptonshire track, he bounced back in style in round two with a highly-competitive performance.
Starting seventh on the grid, the SRC Recycling-backed driver from Aldingbourne made a rocket-like start and surged into third place.
With nothing to split the lead trio, rain started to fall around halfway through and Herbert increased the pressure on second-placed David Dickenson.
On the last lap, the breakthrough came as Herbert moved ahead at Tarzan Hairpin with a superbly-executed pass. Into the final chicane, a tap from Dickenson’s car as he tried to retake the position resulted in Herbert being elbowed back to third – but officials handed Dickenson a time penalty post-race, giving Herbert a richly deserved runners-up placing.
Having gone into the weekend running as a private entrant with assistance from his family, before race day a decision was made to join leading team Westbourne Motorsport to benefit from the squad’s engineering experience in Clios.
“I think it’s come to the point now, with the level of competition in this championship, my dad and I can’t just carry on doing it ourselves,” explained Herbert.
“We were fine in Mazdas but the Clio, on slicks, is more reliant on fine-tuning the set-up. We qualified ninth and seventh this weekend, then we went to Westbourne before the races and they transformed the set-up – the car was completely different.
“Race one wasn’t great after being taken out but second place in race two was good. I was waiting for the last lap in race two, I knew I could brake later than him (Dickenson) into the hairpin but then he punted me out of the way into the chicane.
“I think I had the pace to win, it’s a difficult track to overtake on though. I’m really pleased to end the weekend with such a strong result.”
Oulton Park in Cheshire will host rounds three and four of the Michelin Clio Cup series on Saturday, May 17.
Along with headline sponsors Michelin and Protyre, the Clio Cup Series is additionally supported by Ferodo and Safety Devices. The Michelin Clio Cup Road Series is also backed by DNA Tuning.