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Le Mans Series 2006
Round 5. Jarama 1000 Kilometers. September 23rd-24th 2006

Qualifying...Issued September 23rd 2006

Erdos Maintains Unbeaten Run

RML’s Thomas Erdos maintained his unbeaten run in qualifying this season with a sixth consecutive pole position ahead of tomorrow’s final round of the 2006 Le Mans Series, staged in Jarama, Spain.

The Brazilian set a best of 1:24.473 in the MG Lola EX264 to stand almost exactly a second proud of Stuart Moseley in the factory-supported Bruichladdich Radical, second in the class. More impressive perhaps is the very narrow margin of just 1.2 seconds that separates the MG from Emanuel Collard, claiming outright pole in the LMP1 championship-winning Pescarolo C60. “I'm delighted to have sealed every pole position this season,” said a jubilant Erdos after the twenty-minute session. “I'm proud of that, of course, but I’ve had a great car to work with. It's a credit to the team, the whole set-up, and to their attention to detail.” Adam Wiseberg, Motorsport Director of AD Holdings, the team’s principal sponsor, was delighted. “It’s fantastic!” he said. “After free practice yesterday (when Erdos had been fastest throughout, and set a best of 1:25.715) I predicted a 24.7 or thereabouts, and he’s gone even quicker . . . but then again, he always does!”

RML’s team principal, Ray Mallock, is in Istanbul this weekend overseeing the team’s entry for Chevrolet in the World Touring Car Championship. “I’m very pleased, and just frustrated I can’t be in two places at once!” he said on hearing the news of RML’s pole in Spain. “After such a good run in free practice, there was a feeling that everything was on schedule. The MG was going well, the team was relaxed, and everyone has been looking forward to a good run. This is the perfect way to start.”

The Spanish circuit has not been used for such a high profile event for some time, and is posing quite a few challenges for the teams. “We’ve been concentrating on getting the car to ride the bumps as cleanly as possible,” explained Mallock. “It’s all we can do to help the drivers cope with the conditions when they face them in the race, and to make their lives as easy as possible. Hopefully the work Phil (Barker, Team Manager of RML’s sports prototype project) and the team have been doing on the dampers will give us the right result tomorrow.” To put Tommy’s qualifying time in context, the previous lap record for Jarama for a sportscar was 1:24.200, set in 1994 by Oscar Laurrari in a Porsche 962, and the outright lap record, set in 1981 when the last Formula 1 race was staged at the track, stands at one minute seventeen seconds.

Thomas Erdos and co-driver Mike Newton lead the LMP2 category by just three points, and with another eight drivers in with a mathematical chance of clinching the title in tomorrow’s final race of the season, there’s everything to play for. “We will be approaching this race just like any other,” admitted Erdos, “but there is a lot more at stake here of course. We need at least a degree of caution, but that doesn't mean we won't be pushing. With so much at stake, and with the issues presented by this circuit, tomorrow looks set to be our hardest race of the season.” However, the knowledge that RML has, once again, created the fastest car for the circuit must be a great confidence boost. “It’s a great feeling to have got six poles from six race starts,” agreed Adam Wiseberg. “Let’s hope that by tomorrow night we can be looking at the result I think we deserve.”

Top Ten Times

Pos No. Class Team Driver Car
LMP1 Pescarolo Sport Emmanuel COLLARD Pescarolo C60 Judd
LMP1 Courage Competition Jean-Marc GOUNON Courage LC70 Mugen
LMP1 Courage Competition Shinji NAKANO Courage LC70 Mugen
LMP2 RML Tommy ERDOS MG Lola EX264
LMP1 Swiss Spirit Marc FASSLER Courage LC70 Judd
LMP1 Creation Autosportif Nicolas MINASSIAN Creation CA06/H Judd
LMP2 Bruichladdich Radical Stuart MOSELEY Radical SR9 AER
LMP2 Kruse Motorsport Norbert SIEDLER Courage C65 Judd
LMP2 ASM Racing Portugal Angel BURGUENO Lola B05/40 AER
LMP2 Rollcentre Racing Joao BARBOSA Radical SR9 Judd

An in-depth report of practice and qualifying can be viewed here. You can view the high-resolution Gallery for images from Jarama. This will be added to during the course of the weekend.