Silverstone: RML race report

The RML MG Lola EX264 took 3rd place in the Le Mans Endurance Series at Silverstone today. In an eventful race that was run in very difficult conditions Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton did a fantastic job of keeping the No.25 MG in the race to claim...

The RML MG Lola EX264 took 3rd place in the Le Mans Endurance Series at Silverstone today. In an eventful race that was run in very difficult conditions Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton did a fantastic job of keeping the No.25 MG in the race to claim their 2nd podium of the championship.

Setting a flying lap of 1m38.722s in the morning's qualifying session Tommy had secured the LMP2 pole position and put the MG on the 4th row of the grid, ahead of two LMP1 contenders. With rain falling for the majority of the afternoon the race started in treacherous conditions which claimed many competitors on the first lap. Tommy, taking things cautiously, kept out of trouble and had climbed to 2nd position overall by lap six whilst maintaining the class lead.

Although running competitively the MG was no match for the LMP1 cars who were hot on its heels and Tommy was soon passed by the Audi of McNish and the Zytek of Kurosawa. He settled into 4th position and despite conditions deteriorating with the rain persisting he opened up a significant gap to his nearest class rival. With the safety car being deployed for the third time and many teams speculating as to whether the race should continue Tommy began to experience problems when he lost the paddle shift, quickly followed by a throttle delay. He commented "I was stuck in 3rd gear and had to switch to manual gearshift which worked but then I had problems with the throttle which caused a delay in acceleration. That was lethal in the conditions and I had to come in to the pits".

The team quickly got the paddle shift working, blew out the water from the cockpit and changed the major electrical units in a bid to insulate them against the torrent of water on track. With four minutes lost Mike was to join the race in 15th position overall and 5th in class. The safety car was deployed almost immediately as he began his stint and he spent a challenging half hour keeping the MG in the running whilst experiencing an intermittent misfire.

The team's theory that the electrical problems would disappear once the race got underway were proved correct as the safety car finally came in and Mike was able to pick up the pace. He drove a superb stint to climb his way through the pack and was running 2nd in class when he was pushed into a spin at Woodcote. He amazingly made no contact with other competitors but had lost the clutch and was forced to pit.

The team carried out the final pitstop and Tommy was back behind the wheel to take the car to the flag. A short delay in restarting due to the clutch problems saw him join the race 4th in class and with under an hour of the race left he had to pull something out of the bag to claim a podium position. He did just that in a superb stint that saw him claw back the deficit to the 3rd placed Lola of Leinhard and take the position. He was gaining on the 2nd placed Kruse Courage and was sure to catch him when the chequered flag came out early and the team had to settle for 3rd place in LMP2.

Phil Barker commented "The drivers did exceptionally well in extremely difficult conditions, that at times were too dangerous to race in. We are disappointed to let another win slip through our fingers but I am delighted the team and drivers did such a fantastic job of keeping in the hunt for a podium, and the championship".

Tommy Erdos commented "That was really hard work to keep the car on the circuit and the conditions at times were lethal. The team worked really hard to keep us in the race and I am pleased we managed to get another podium and secure more points for the championship"

-rml-

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Mike Newton