RML's sportscar team competed in the 11th and final round of the FIA GT Championship at Zhuhai, China on Sunday in an eventful race that saw the No 8 Saleen of Chris Goodwin and Michael Mallock cross the line in 7th position and Mike Newton and Tommy Erdos in the No 7 Saleen take 12th position in class after being hit with a run of misfortune.
Having qualified in 6th position Tommy took his place on the third row of the grid in the No 7 car and an outstanding start saw him gain 2nd position on the first lap. Maintaining his position for the first ten laps of the race he was then hit from behind by the Maserati of Johnny Herbert dropping him to 5th position. He then received another blow when the Ferrari of Karl Wendlinger made contact with him, forcing him into a spin and triggering an electrical problem which hampered Tommy's progress until the team were able to replace a faulty alternator at the first pit stop. Mike drove a trouble-free middle stint, working hard to make up lost ground, before handing the car back to Tommy who crossed the line in 14th place, 12th in GT.
Chris and Michael in the No 8 Saleen had a strong race run having started in a lowly 13th grid position due to lost time in qualifying. Chris made steady progress from the start of the race before handing the car over to Michael at the first scheduled pit stop. Having had little time in the car before the race and suffering from leg cramp Michael drove a conservative stint before Chris took over for his final stint of the season and brought the car home in 7th place.
Tommy Erdos commented "I had a good start and climbed to 2nd but was hit from behind, first from the Maserati and then the Ferrari, I was just a passenger and did all I could to keep on track. I had problems with low battery voltage which was unfortunate. We didn't get the result we had hoped for".
Mike Newton commented "It's a little disappointing to end the season in this position as we had a good start. I maintained good pace throughout my stint & bought the car back but we had already lost too much time with the extended pit to make an impression".
Chris Goodwin commented "I had a good start and made steady progress in my first stint. The car ran well and we had a better set up than in practice. Michael did a good job considering his lack of time in the car and he stayed out of trouble, it was a hard earned 7th place".
Michael Mallock commented "I had no time in the car on Saturday and little running in practice so I decided not to take any risks. The car felt good and although I struggled with a bad leg cramp I managed to run to my scheduled stop. The team did a great job during the weekend and the car set up was good so its unfortunate we didn't get a better result".
Both RML Saleens' were handed over to Franz Konrad at the end of the race who has bought the cars from owner/driver Mike Newton. Mike plans to focus on the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Le Mans Endurance Series next year with the MG Lola prototype.