RML Returning to Form RML AD Group's Thomas Erdos set a best of 1:47.491 in qualifying for this weekend's Paul Ricard 8 Hours to claim fourth on the LMP2 grid for Round 1 of the 2010 Le Mans Series. The result fell a little short of the team's...
RML Returning to Form
RML AD Group's Thomas Erdos set a best of 1:47.491 in qualifying for this weekend's Paul Ricard 8 Hours to claim fourth on the LMP2 grid for Round 1 of the 2010 Le Mans Series. The result fell a little short of the team's hopes and expectations after quicker times in practice, but ahead of the longest race yet scheduled for the Series, being on the second row is likely to be of small consequence.
"We are a little surprised not to be quicker," conceded Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML, "but at the end of the day, we're right behind pole, and in the grand scheme of an eight hour race, ten metres on the grid is neither here nor there. The greater concern is what happens after those lights go out and the race starts."
Having been second or third in the faster practice sessions, the indications were strong that the team could hope for a similar result in qualifying. In the end, however, Brazilian Thomas Erdos had been unable to replicate his earlier pace. "The balance of the car had changed just enough since the previous practice session to prevent Tommy from getting the best out of the car," explained Barker. "He also had difficulties with traffic, and it just wasn't meant to be."
Tommy had joined the qualifying period right at the start of the session, and had encountered a busy track. His first flyer in the team's Lola B08/80 HPD Coupe had been enough to lay a temporary claim to class pole, but he was never able to find the same degree of space again. Running short of fuel, he then briefly pitted before returning to the track with plans for two more laps. "The car felt worse at the rear when I went back out again, and I knew straight away that there was little chance of making the necessary improvement," said Tommy. "Okay, we're mildly disappointed, since we felt there was a chance of second place, but we live and learn."
Pauline Norstrom, Marketing and Motorsport Director of AD Group, spoke on behalf of the team's principal sponsor. "It's a long race and grid position is not critical. What matters now is the professionalism of the team and the reliability of the car and the engine. We have confidence in HPD (Honda Performance Development), and we feel there's still considerably more to come from the engine and chassis combination. The critical aspect is the very encouraging performance of all three drivers in the practice sessions this weekend. Their relative times are very close, and that places the team in a strong position for the race." CCTV systems created by AD Group monitor the team garage, pitlane and truck, allowing the guests to watch from the comfort of the team's hospitality facility as the engineers prepare the car for each session.
The race is scheduled to begin at 11:00 local time (10:00 in the UK) tomorrow, Sunday April 11th, and will be covered live on-line by Radio Le Mans, with dedicated blow-by-blow reporting on the team website at www.rml-ad.com. Selected periods of live television coverage, including the start and finish, will be provided on Eurosport.