The RML MG Lola EX264 secured its fourth successive podium with a 3rd place in the fourth round of the Le Mans Endurance Series at Nurburgring, Germany today and closed the gap in the race for the 2005 championship title. Securing the LMP2...
The RML MG Lola EX264 secured its fourth successive podium with a 3rd place in the fourth round of the Le Mans Endurance Series at Nurburgring, Germany today and closed the gap in the race for the 2005 championship title.
Securing the LMP2 pole position in Saturday's qualifying session with a time of 1m48.223s Tommy had put the MG amongst the LMP1 contenders in 5th position on the grid. A good start to the race saw him climb to 4th position at the first corner as the leaders jostled for position and he settled into a competitive pace. During the first hour of the race Tommy maintained a strong class lead whilst conserving his tyres for a double stint.
Pitting at the scheduled stop for fuel he rejoined and maintained the class lead and 6th position overall. During the second stint he pressed home his advantage and pitted with a lead of over one minute. The car was fuelled and new tyres fitted and handed over to Mike but refused to restart. The team checked through various electrical circuits and eventually the MG sparked to life and Mike rejoined the race.
With over twelve minutes lost at the piststop the MG was now running 7th in class and Mike had his work cut out to regain some lost ground. He was soon up to race pace and completed a clean double stint lapping competitively to take the MG back up to 4th in class, recovering over a lap on some class rivals in the process.
No recurrent starter problems had occurred during Mike's two pitstops and the team were pushing hard with a podium in their sights. Tommy drove a fantastic stint and claimed 3rd in class where he was running as he took his final pitstop. The team's bad luck was about to recur as the car again refused to start. Their determination showed through as they fought to get the car restarted and they were rewarded as after a few attempts the MG fired up and Tommy was back on track. He drove very competitively to the flag to claim a tremendous 3rd place.
The points gained today have enabled the team to climb to joint 2nd place in the championship and they will travel to the final race at Istanbul, Turkey with a firm focus on securing the necessary points advantage to take their first LMES championship win.
Phil Barker, Team Manager commented "We are disappointed not to have finished higher than third as we had such a strong pace. The blow has been softened though as we have closed the gap to both our main rivals in the championship. It's going to make Istanbul very interesting!"
Tommy Erdos commented "We are very encouraged by the pace of the car all week, we set the pace in qualifying and again in the race. The car worked like clockwork apart from the starter problems. This is a development year for us and we are always learning about the systems on the car. We are disappointed not to win as again we had the pace but these races are difficult and over six hours so many things can go wrong. The team worked well to give me a car that was really competitive and I can't ask for more."
Mike Newton commented "We are very pleased that our championship position has improved and are confident looking to Istanbul for the final round."
The final round of the championship takes place at the new Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey on November 13th.