Britain's resident Brazilian, Thomas Erdos, was in action last weekend at Anderstorp in Sweden for round seven of the 2003 FIA GT Championship. He was pleased to be back in his more regular GNM Saleen after finishing second at Spa in the Balfe...
Britain's resident Brazilian, Thomas Erdos, was in action last weekend at Anderstorp in Sweden for round seven of the 2003 FIA GT Championship.
He was pleased to be back in his more regular GNM Saleen after finishing second at Spa in the Balfe Motorsport Mosler last week. This weekend started almost as well, with Erdos setting a front row time in qualifying, but the race didn't pan out according to expectations. Despite a strong start, which saw the Saleen running a comfortable second for the first half hour or more, the car's handling deteriorated significantly during the final third of Thomas's opening stint. He fell into the clutches of the two factory-run Lister Storms. He put up spirited resistance to the advances of the first, driven by Jamie Campbell-Walter. For several laps they provided excellent entertainment as they diced through the corners, with JC-W getting ahead on one occasion, only for Erdos to snatch the position back again at the next corner. With the Saleen's tyres well beyond their best and degrading rapidly there was only so much Erdos could do, and he eventually had to settle for third.
Then, as his first hour neared its end, the second Lister driven by Andrea Piccini arrived on his tail. This time there was to be no clean pass. Piccini dived for the inside at the end of the main straight, striking the rear three-quarters of the Saleen and sending both cars spinning into the gravel. The Lister recovered almost unscathed, but Erdos was forced to limp back to the pits for repairs and a driver change.
Co-driver Mike Newton returned to the track well down the order, but made good time as he endeavoured to recover some of the lost ground. Unfortunately the damage to the GNM Saleen had been more serious than first thought, and traveling at speed down the main straight Mike lost control as the car tipped him into a spin. Buried in the gravel once more the team was forced to accept retirement.
Despite understandable disappointment, Thomas Erdos found much to be pleased with about the weekend, which demonstrated that the team is now one of the front-running outfits in the series.
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