Herbert’s a Silverstone sizzler in his Mazda

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TALENTED young racing driver Luke Herbert opened his account in the Ma5da Racing MX5 Cup with a solid set of performances at Silverstone,including all three pole positions, an outright pole-to-flag win and a fastest lap.

The Aldingbourne speedster has returned for his second season in his SRC Recycling-sponsored MX5 Mk3 – the same car he took to second place in last year’s championship – and immediately set the bar high by qualifying in pole in all three races.

“Race one was a dream race,” said Herbert. “I’d qualified well with a three-tenth advantage, so knew I had the pace – I just needed a good start and keep the pack behind me.

“I got a good start and managed to keep ahead, although at times there was a little rubbing as people tried to muscle their way past, but in the end I pulled away.

“The flag came as a bit of a surprise, to be honest – the marshals didn’t put out the ‘last lap’ board. Our races are timed, rather than a set number of laps, and so I came round the final corner two seconds ahead and there was a chequered flag flying over my head!”

Race two saw Herbert on pole again, but a mistake at Becketts on lap seven saw him drop to fifth. He fought back to cross the line in third, but the timings indicated he had been creeping on the line at the start which presented him with a ten-second penalty, dropping him to fourth overall.

Race three had Herbert swapping places within the top three early on before contact damaged the tracking, reducing his top straightline speed, leading him to finish in fifth.

Herbert, who is studying sports science with management at Loughborough University, has worked his way up from karting to the MX5 Mk3 Cup via the MX5 Mk1 Championship.

MATT LYNHAM