RML takes lead in Le Mans Series LMP2 after superb win
RML today took the lead in the Le Mans Series LMP2 class after a superb win in the fourth round at Donington Park, England. A mixture of fortunes during the 1000km/six hour race saw the No. 25 MG Lola EX264, driven by Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton, battle to make up lost ground after an early puncture lost them the class lead and eventually take the chequered flag victorious when good luck came their way in the closing stages of the race.
Ray Mallock, RML's Chief Executive, was very pleased with the result. "Superb team work has once again brought us this win today. We had our fair share of bad luck early on in the race due to a puncture and losing out during the safety car and we thought we couldn't catch the Rollcentre Radical but their starter motor problems in the final pit stop handed us the win. We commiserate with them, but that's racing."
Tommy took the start of the race from the 4th row of the grid and LMP2 pole. He had a clean opening 30mins but then contact with the No.24 Lola of Sam Hancock forced him to pick up gravel which resulted in a puncture and he was forced to pit early. He lost the class lead but set about taking it back as soon as he was back on track. He overtook the No.22 Rollcentre Radical with Joao Barbosa at the wheel and the No. 40 ASM Lola to take the class lead just before pitting to hand the car over to Mike.
As the team completed a faultless driver change pit stop the safety car was deployed. Mike rejoined just behind the safety car but the No.22 Rollcentre Radical had left the pits moments earlier and was now in front of the safety car. With the No.40 ASM Lola retiring in the pits with piston failure the No.22 Radical now had over 1 lap lead in the LMP2 class. Mike drove a strong consistent double stint, running as high as 7th place overall and 2nd in class, the position he handed the car back to Tommy in at 4.15pm.
Tommy rejoined the race and immediately took up the challenge of closing the gap to the class leader which was 1 lap 50 seconds. He consistently lapped quicker than the Radical, sometimes taking up to 3 seconds a lap off the deficit, and gradually closed the gap. He was running in 6th place overall when he pitted for his final scheduled stop.
In the closing minutes of the race the No.22 Radical also completed its final pit stop but would not restart once fuelled. Tommy kept up a steady pace and watched the Radical's lead slip away as the car sat in the pits. With only seven minutes of the race remaining Tommy took the LMP2 class lead and drove conservatively to the flag to give the team a well deserved win, and 4th place overall.
After the podium celebrations Tommy Erdos praised the team; "I am delighted with the win. The team really deserve this as they have been working so hard for it all season, it's especially sweet when it's your home race! We are now leading the championship and our main rival hasn't had a good result here today so that gives us a further push for the final round."
Mike Newton was equally pleased with the result. He commented "It was a tough race and the competition was strong. We have all had our ups and downs and it's terrific to come out on top. I feel sorry for Martin Short (Rollcentre Racing) and his team but am pleased that we had the good luck this time and that things have gone the right way."
The team are now leading the LMP2 class standings. The final round of the championship takes place at Jarama, Spain on 24th September.