Le Mans, France today saw the start of the 73rd 24 Heures du Mans and in blistering temperatures an eventful opening nine hours of the race was to prove frustrating for the RML MG Lola team. Team mates Tommy Erdos, Mike Newton and Warren Hughes...
Le Mans, France today saw the start of the 73rd 24 Heures du Mans and in blistering temperatures an eventful opening nine hours of the race was to prove frustrating for the RML MG Lola team. Team mates Tommy Erdos, Mike Newton and Warren Hughes all drove superb stints throughout Saturday afternoon and evening and set the fastest LMP2 lap, but their efforts were hampered with previously unseen problems.
Tommy took the MG off the line and no sooner had he cleanly made it through the opening corners that he noticed the engine temperature had reached concerning levels. He pitted after one lap and the team attempted to add water to the cooling system but on rejoining the problem persisted. A transmission problem also occurred when he rejoined and a second pit ensued. The team replaced the gear change compressor and bled the cooling system which proved successful and enabled Tommy to complete a double stint and set the fastest LMP2 lap with a 3m49.723s, over 4 seconds quicker than the lead LMP2's best.
Mike was next behind the wheel and with much ground to cover to get back in contention he immediately got the MG up to race pace. He consistently lapped quicker than his class rivals and was setting times to compete with the front runners when an electrical glitch reared its head and caused the transmission to stick, thus forcing him to take a cautious lap back to the pits for the team to investigate. A blown fuse was deemed the cause and quickly replaced. With Mike having completed the majority of a double stint the team maximized the time in the pits to complete the second driver change of the day.
Continuing the good pace on rejoining Warren began lapping in the early 3m50's and went on to drive for a triple stint as darkness fell. He improved the MG's quickest lap by setting a 3m48.902s, averaging 6 seconds quicker per lap than the other LMP2 contenders. He pitted for a well earned break with six hours of the race complete and after the team prepared the car for night running Tommy took to the track to continue the good work.
As the race went into the early hours of Sunday morning Tommy continued to be the quickest LMP2 on track and before handing over to Mike had pulled the MG back to 3rd in class.