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Perfect Preparation for Le Mans

The 2010 Spa 1000 Kilometres may earn its place in the history books for its unique and very unusual half-time break, caused by a regional power failure, but RML AD Group will look back on the event as having been the perfect dress rehearsal for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Finishing second in LMP2 under particularly difficult circumstances could prove to be the ideal tonic for the team’s morale, and sets Mike Newton, Thomas Erdos and Andy Wallace on course for a shot at this season’s Le Mans Series LMP2 title.

In addition to being red flagged for forty minutes while electricity was restored, the race also tested the teams with variations in weather and track conditions, and a succession of alarming crashes and incidents. “The start was very difficult,” admitted Tommy Erdos. “The track was damp and unpredictable. Some of the other drivers were prepared to take risks, but I knew the track would come back to me as the dry line developed, and it did.” Having lost a bit of ground in the opening half hour, he then worked back through the field to take the class lead and deliver a ten second advantage to Mike Newton for the middle third of the race.

Mike faced similar challenges as the characteristic Spa climate threw variations in sunshine and showers across the full breadth of the track, but he handed over to Andy Wallace for the final hour with the #25 Lola HPD holding a strong second in LMP2. As the weather deteriorated, Wallace channelled his experience into hunting down the lead, narrowing the gap by 20 seconds in the last half hour, and putting second beyond doubt.

“Our aim is to finish on the podium in every race, and so far we’re achieving that, so I’m really happy to be on target and pleased for the whole team,” said Thomas Erdos. “They’ve put in a huge amount of effort in preparing and developing the car, and collecting some silverware is one way we, as drivers, can reward them.”

“I’m just really thrilled for the team,” said Andy Wallace. “All teams work hard, but this team works harder than most. That’s a third place at Paul Ricard, a second place here at Spa, and next stop, Le Mans.”

Early in the race the car had been tagged at the rear, losing one of the so-called “legality panels” and enforcing an extended pitstop for repairs, taken during one of the safety car periods. “Replacing that panel probably cost us the win,” conceded Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML. “We’re very pleased with second, of course, but it could so easily have been more. Despite that, it all came together nicely in the end and places us in an excellent position for the championship.”

“That was a solid performance from all three drivers in a difficult race and under extremely demanding conditions,” said Pauline Norstrom, Motorsport and Marketing Director for AD Group. “They kept out of trouble and delivered the result we’d worked so hard to achieve. It’s a positive reflection on the great management and excellent teamwork associated with the project, both within RML and also AD Group.” The company had around 30 guests in attendance to witness the podium finish. “This has been a great weekend all round, for the team, for our guests, and for AD’s trading prospects. Strong relationships are built out of experiences like these. It helps to develop AD’s business, strengthens our ability to support RML’s sportscar programme, and makes it possible for us to go racing. It’s a core element of our business strategy and results like today’s are a satisfying reward.”

Click any thumbnail for an enlargement.
Please credit photos 1 and 2 to David Lord / Dailysportscar and Photo 3 to David Stephes / Studio 21

RML: Rupert Manwaring, Sponsorship & Marketing Director
Telephone: +44 (0)1933 402440
AD Group: Pauline Norstrom, Director of Worldwide Marketing. Telephone: +44 (0)1928 706 449

Race Result - LMP2

 Team  Car  Drivers
Quifel ASM Ginetta-Zytek 09S Amaral, Pla
RML AD Group Lola HPD Coupé Erdos, Newton, Wallace
Oak Racing Pescarolo - Judd Hein, Moreau
Oak Racing Pescarolo - Judd Lahaye, Nicolet
Racing Box Lola Coupé Judd Geri, Piccini, Piccini
Pegasus Racing Courage-Oreca AER Schell, Da Rocha
Race Performance Radical SR9 - Judd Frey, Meichtry, Bruneau
      Not Finished      
KSM Lola B08/47 Judd de Pourtales, Noda, Kennard
Strakka Racing HPD ARX -01c Leventis, Watts, Kane
Bruichladdich Ginetta-Zytek 09S Ojjeh, Greaves, Ebbesvik
Racing Box Lola Coupé B09 Francioni, Pirri

Le Mans Series 2010

Round 2, Spa Francorchamps
May 7th - 9th 2010

Race, Sunday 9th May

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