The RML MG Lola EX264 took 3rd position in the LMP2 class of the Le Mans Endurance Series at Monza, Italy today. Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton both drove a clean competitive race in which they dominated the LMP2 class before misfortune struck in...
The RML MG Lola EX264 took 3rd position in the LMP2 class of the Le Mans Endurance Series at Monza, Italy today. Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton both drove a clean competitive race in which they dominated the LMP2 class before misfortune struck in the closing hours.
Tommy took the start of the 1000km race from the 6th row of the grid and 5th position in class. A transmission problem in Saturday's qualifying session had hampered the team's chances of a flying lap and resulted in the lower than expected grid slot. The opening lap of the race saw Tommy immediately demonstrate the competitive pace of the MG and he climbed two places. Continuing his pursuit through the pack he had soon taken the class lead with only 30 mins of the race complete. Such was his pace that on completing a clean double stint he had opened up a 40 second gap to his nearest class rival when he pitted to hand the car over to Mike.
Mike took to the track and keen to continue the good work he was soon up to race pace. He maintained the class lead throughout a very competitive double stint, only conceding position during pit stops, and with lap times over a second quicker than other LMP2 contenders he increased the gap to his nearest rival to 27 seconds before handing the car back to Tommy.
Tommy rejoined the race with almost 1 hour to go and had just completed his first flying lap when he lost drive and was forced to pit. The team lost eight laps while they investigated the problem and back on track the MG was lying 4th in class. The team's determination never wavered and although a class win was now out of sight they fought hard for a podium. Rain began to fall in the closing stages of the race and a pit stop ensued for wet tyres and fuel before Tommy took the chequered flag in 3rd position in class.
Tommy commented after the race
"We are pleased to have achieved a podium here today and again showed that we have a very competitive package. We are obviously disappointed to not have had a race win when it was within our grasp but we have collected valuable points for the championship."
The third round of the Le Mans Endurance Series takes place at Silverstone on 13th August 2005.