Mans Series 2007
Round 3. Nurburgring 1000 Kilometers. June 29th - July 1st
Friday’s two periods of Free Practice
could not have been more different for RML. The early session
left neither RML driver feeling exactly effusive –
although it ended well enough, apparently, with a first-rate
lunch at the Smoking Dog - but the afternoon period was
excellent. Having laboured to find a good set-up during
the morning, prospects aboard the MG EX264 turned a corner
during the afternoon, and Thomas Erdos ended the day as
fastest in LMP2 and a remarkable fourth-quickest overall.
This was more than enough to leave everyone in the garage
least it was dry! That was something to be said for the
opening period of Free Practice, although even that was
in doubt at the beginning.
was given the first half-hour in the MG, and while he ended
up fourth-fastest in LMP2 (on 1:50.059), it was not an easy
session. “We had a set-up to begin with that just
didn’t seem to suit the circuit,” he suggested
afterwards. "Perhaps there was a bit too much downforce
at the front, and not enough at the back. Over the course
of the session, we made a series of adjustments to the set-up,
and those changes achieved some improvement in the overall
balance, but it was still not ideal.”
drove the second thirty-minutes, and encountered similar
problems, as well as dense traffic. “I came out into
the middle of a particularly heavy stream,” he said.
“Then there was a car off in the first sector, and
that spoiled my first four laps with yellow flags. The softer
compound tyres we were using behaved much better, even if
there was still a bit of rear-end jump. We made a few more
changes, and the car was much more consistent after that.”
Phil Barker was typically unfazed. “We’re
just working towards a suitable balance for the car, and
we’ve been trying a few things that are a little different
to normal. That’s been useful, and we’ve gathered
some very valuable information that means we’re happy
to take things forward into the afternoon session. We’ll
make some more changes after lunch and then see if we’re
anywhere nearer by the end of the day.”
The day’s second period of Free Practice
got under way at ten-to-five, with the skies, if anything,
even more gloomy than before, although the rain still managed
to hold off to little more than a light drizzle.
was out promptly, and immediately confirmed that the car
felt much better. This was reflected in his times, which
improved steadily over the course of the first ten minutes
or so, topping out with a best of 1:50.019. “He’s
pulled his finger out!” wagged one of the engineers.
Indeed, he had, but there was better to come yet.
quick lap had been his fourth of five, and with that batch
completed, Tommy headed back down the pitlane so that a
few additional tweaks could be made to the aerodynamics.
It worked a treat. His next flying lap past the pits was
an impressive 1:47.785, and comfortably fastest in LMP2
– at that stage by nearly two seconds, with Michael
Vergers second up in the Barazi Epsilon Zytek on 1:49.042.
It was also quick enough to place the MG fifth-quickest
overall. “It feels like a completely different car
now!” he enthused. “The grip levels from the
tyres are very, very good, and the whole things is so much
the best part of five minutes Tommy’s time stood alone
at the head of P2, until Miguel de Castro brought the ASM
Quifel Lola into play. His first effort was a 1:48.492,
about eight tenths off Tommy’s quickest lap, but the
Spaniard followed that with an even quicker 1:48.062 to
close to within half a second.
the meantime, Erdos had been in to the pits for yet more
fine-tuning, and when he went out, the results were clear
to see. A first flyer on the new set-up clocked 1:46.308
and pushed the MG into the top three overall. It would be
Tommy’s last lap of the session. Meeting traffic at
the start of his next tour cost him nearly four seconds
even before the end of the second sector, so Phil called
him in with instructions for Mike to take over for the remaining
minutes went largely to plan, with Mike completing one mid-stint
pitstop for a splash of fuel, and then rounding off the
session to the chequered flag. Nearing the end, one of the
LMP1 cars moved narrowly ahead of Tommy’s best, but
the MG ended the day fourth-fastest overall, and quickest
in LMP2 by almost two seconds.
now much happier,” grinned Erdos. “We tested
two different compounds of tyre this afternoon, and the
car worked well on both. We just need to decide now which
one we’ll use for the race.” The changes to
the set-up had clearly worked well. “There’s
still some trimming to do with the aerodynamics, but I’m
very comfortable with where we are at this stage, but we
still need to see what everyone else can do in qualifying.
It’s all very nice to be able to do a quick lap, but
it’s more important that we have a good set-up for
Barker looked far more relaxed. “I always had faith
in what we were going to do,” he said. “I’m
pleased with the refinements we made at the end of the first
session, and it’s got us back in the ballpark. We’ll
look at the data and see if there’s scope for moving
up another notch tomorrow.” As ever, his mind was
largely on the race itself. “We may be comfortable
with what we have now, but it’s still only free practice,”
he added. There’s a lot more to come, not only from
RML, but everyone else in the highly-competitive LMP2 field.
908 Hdi FAP
908 Hdi FAP
full results of all races and events being staged at the
Nurburgring this weekend, please visit this
where it is possible to download PDF files for all sessions
third Free Practice session is scheduled for 11:40 tomorrow.
There are high resolution images posted in the Nurburgring