Mans Series 2007
Round 4. Spa 1000 Kilometers. August 17th - 19th 2007
two days of really rather pleasant Ardennes conditions,
Sunday dawned dull and overcast. The rain held off for the
day's first activity; the Le Mans Series warm-up at 8:00am,
but within minutes of the end twenty minutes later a light
drizzle had started to fall. Forecasts for the day suggest
"significant rain" by mid-afternoon. That could
have implications for the length of the race, with dry-weather
calculations suggesting that the Peugeots could possibly
complete their 1000 kilometres in well under six hours.
Indeed at a possible race-pace of 2:05 or thereabouts, around
five hours is even possible. If it rains their pace will
slow, but even then, it seems unlikely that the race will
go to time.
far as RML was concerned, warm-up provided no dramas, and
Tommy and Mike took advantage of the session to practice
driver changes and confirm that the car's set-up was to
their liking. It must have been, since Tommy posted the
morning's quickest LMP2 time, with 2:09.319 being good enough
for fifth overall.
three flying laps, Tommy handed over to Mike, who completed
the second half of the period before they rounded off with
a simulated pitstop and driver change.
LMP2 Times - Warm-up
10:15 the drivers gathered for the now-traditional autograph
session, staged as usual around the ACO's scrutineering
truck. Mike and Tommy found themselves sandwiched between
the Peugeot squad on one side, with pole-setter Nic Minassian
a focal point for the gathering crowds, and the Spyker Squadron
on the other.
proved to be a busy half-hour, with a sizeable crowd attracted
to the circuit by the promise of some exciting racing and
the generosity of Renault. The "World Series by Renault",
seen as a Formula 1 feeder championship, is one of a broad
spectrum of support races that also include Classic Endurance,
Porsche Carrera Cup, Radical World Cup and Peugeot 207 Spyder
Cup. Ahead of the event, Renault has reputedly given away
several thousand free tickets for the weekend, so good attendance
Spa 1000 Kilometres starts at 12:30 local time.
of the following account was posted "live" during
the course of the race, and as a result the tenses used
may vary as account written during the event itself is mixed
with additional material added later. More photographs will
be inserted shortly.
a final wish of "Good luck everybody" over the
radio, Thomas Erdos moved away from the grid to take up
his position for the parade lap, the cars streaming round
La Source and down the hill towards Eau Rouge at just on
12:30. Stirring music was played out around the circuit's
public address system as nearly fifty cars threaded round
the track behind the pace car.
lap completed, the pace car peeled off at the exit of the
new "Bus Stop" chicane. Marc Gene, taking the
start for the pole-sitting Peugeot #7, controlled the pack
on the run towards La Source, then powered across the line,
followed by Pedro Lamy in the #8. Stefan Mucke in the Charouz
Lola was the unlucky recipient of an over-exuberant start
from Cochet in the #12 Courage, who thumped the Lola heavily
up the rear, leaving Mucke with a long and difficult run
back to the pitlane.
watching from a few places further back, managed to avoid
the incident. "My start felt pretty good," he
said, "but I could see an incident developing ahead
of me, so I tucked through on the inside and was away, no
problems." He moved forwards into 8th, and followed
the recovering #12 Courage and Rollcentre Pescarolo through
Eau Rouge and up the hill along Raidillon and towards Les
Combes. Juan Barazi, taking first stint in the #32 Zytek,
made a hesitant beginning, and had lost three or four places
even before the pack headed out into the countryside.
Hughes took full advantage of the Barazi's slower pace and
eased into second, followed by De Castro in the ASM Lola.
Tommy has pulled out a significant lead in LMP2, and now
heads Warren by 4.6 seconds. "I took the first few
laps a little cautiously," said Erdos. "I just
wanted to make sure the car was OK and not overdo things
right at the start. I aimed to maintain a good pace and
keep out of trouble." He and Warren were soon dicing
in amongst the tail-enders, with the leading Peugeots lapping
the slowest cars after only three laps.
Twenty minutes into the race and Tommy leads the class by
7.3 seconds. "After a while I knew that a gap was developing
between me and Warren, and the team kept me informed so
I knew how much I needed to push." The ASM Lola, with
Miguel de Castro taking the first stint, was falling steadily
away from the leading pair.
Chris Buncombe in the #31 Binnie Motorsport Lola gets ahead
of Stuart Moseley in the Bruichladdich Radical for fourth
place in LMP2. The Barazi Zytek continues to fall even further
The margin over Hughes in second has narrowed slightly to
6.6 seconds as the two class-leading LMP2 prototypes thread
their way through the GT2 traffic. Stuart Moseley appears
to have some kind of a problem, as he is now falling into
the clutches of the #27 Horag Lola in sixth.
in LMP2 at 1:00 (half an hour) are: Tommy Erdos leading
by seven seconds over Warren Hughes in the Embassy Radical,
second. The ASM Lola is third, a couple of seconds behind
Hughes, with the Binnie Lola fourth, Bruichladdich Radical
fifth and Horag Lola sixth. Juan Barazi, meanwhile, is now
in danger of being passed by the Pillbeam.
Gap between Tommy and Warren has recovered to over nine
Plus twelve seconds to Warren Hughes now. The Barazi Zytek
has damage to the rear, having been caught earlier by Bob
Berridge in the Chamberlain Synergy LMP1 Lola at La Source,
and will have to pit for repairs.
The gap between Tommy and Warren has grown again, and now
stands at 10.3 seconds. The leading Peugeot 908 #8 is running
close behind the MG, and looks likely to lap the LMP2 leader
within the next few minutes.
Warren Hughes is now under increasing pressure from De Castro
in the Quifel ASM Lola. The blue and grey car is just a
second behind the Radical.
Tommy crosses the line fourteen seconds ahead of Hughes,
but the Embassy Radical is one of the first to make a fuel
stop, heading into the pitlane and allowing the #40 ASM
Lola through into second.
Thomas Erdos pits on the next lap to complete his opening
stint. He takes on fuel but remains in the cockpit for a
second hour. The crew check the radiator intakes for debris,
and then the Brazilian is waved away after a smooth, trouble-free
and efficient pitstop. "Pitlane clear! Go, go, go!"
He rejoins the circuit well ahead of Warren, having maintained,
or perhaps even extended his advantage.
later, on the opposite side of the circuit, the Pillbeam,
with Marc Rostan at the wheel, is tipped into a spin by
one of the GT2 Ferraris. He narrowly misses the tyre wall,
recovers, and resumes.
Castro pits on the next lap, and then comes back out again
mid-way between Thomas Erdos and Warren Hughes, suggesting
a good and speedy pitstop from the Portuguese crew, effectively
passing the Embassy car "in the pitlane".
The gap between Erdos and De Castro stands at 9.8 seconds.
The #7 Peugeot, which has been running in a close second,
has been hauled into the garage with a wheel bearing problem.
The Racing Box Saleen #61 heads out to begin a new lap with
smoke and flames billowing from under the engine cover.
The fire goes out, but the driver continues around the entire
circuit, leaving a trail of oil behind it all the way. Tommy
is warned over the radio to be aware of the problem.
Gap between Erdos, leading LMP2, and the chasing ASM Lola
is 14.5 seconds.
Problem for De Castro as the ASM Lola sustains a puncture
soon after starting another lap. He has to complete the
lap with a deflated right-rear tyre, and loses second as
Warren Hughes has regained second, but is 27 seconds behind
The situation in LMP2 is: Thomas Erdos leads Warren Hughes
by 28 seconds, with Chris Buncombe third in the #31 Binnie
Lola, the ASM Lola fourth, and Stuart Moseley holding fifth
in the Bruichladdich Radical. The Barazi Zytek has dropped
almost two laps back after having to pit for repairs. Tommy
has the car ahead of him on track, and is catching the Gulf-sponsored
Gap to Hughes has grown again, and now stands as 33 seconds.
Tommy leads Warren Hughes by 37 seconds. Mike is advised
that he'll be taking over in eight laps' time.
Warren falls further adrift, and is now 42 seconds in arrears.
There has been an incident at Virage. Warren Hughes has
had problems in the Embassy Radical.
Chris Buncombe in the Binnie Lola was fllowing closely,
and at first there is some suggestion that they may have
touched, but it is subsequently explained that the Radical
has suffered a stuck throttle. Warren skips through the
gravel, but is helped back onto the track by the marshals
and returns to the pitlane for repairs.
The gap between Erdos, leading LMP2, and Buncombe, now in
second, is 46 seconds. Tommy is holding a strong fifth position
overall, with the Binnie Lola seventh, Stuart Moseley in
the Bruichladdic Radical third in LMP2, and eighth overall,
followed by Van de Poele in the Horag Lola fourth and ninth.
The Pillbeam has had another off, and the Embassy Radical
is still in the pits, having slumped to 17th overall.
Having avised over the radio on the previous lap that the
low-fuel warning light was flickering, Tommy makes his second
pitstop exactly on schedule. This time he clambers swiftly
out of the car and hands over to Mike Newton. The team complete
the re-fuel, then fit four fresh tyres, and within moments
the CEO of AD Group is roaring gloriously out along the
pitlane and taking the MG back onto the track.
Mike settles into his race, 6th overall, and still leading
LMP2, such was the advantage Tommy brought out of his opening
double-stint. Timpany is now in the Binnie Lola, seventh
overall, and Tim Greaves has swapped with Stuart Moseley
in the Bruichladdich car, eighth overall, but under pressure
from De Castro in the Quifel ASM Lola #40..
Mike Newton continues to lead the LMP2 class from Allan
Timpany in the #41 Binnie Motorsports Lola, with De Castro
in the Quifel ASM Lola third. Warren Hughes, after suffering
a disconcerting throttle problem that lead to his off into
the barriers at Virage (Turn 8) remains in the garage, effectively
ending Embassy's promising start.
Binnie Lola enters the pits from second place, and is drawn
back into the garage - reason unknown at present. The Bruichladdich
Radical thereby moves on into second place in LMP2. Mike,
leading the class, is sixth overall and 87 seconds ahead
of Tim Greaves, who's taken over the Radical from Stuart
Mike completes his 60th lap. The Binnie Lola rejoins, but
not before the Horag Lola #27 moves through to take third.
There is now rain falling lightly on certain sections of
the track. Not sufficient yet to herald a change to wet-weather
tyres, but cloud cover is thick and more rain is expected.
Mike Newton stands 6th overall, leading LMP2 by just over
90 seconds from Tim Greaves in the Bruichladdich Radical,
with Lienhard third in the #27 Horag Lola. MIke is lapping
consistently in the 2:15 or 2:16 bracket, and maintaining
the margin over Greaves.
The Kruse Courage goes off at Stavelot, just as the Lavaggi
finally joins the race after two and a half hours of racing.
Reputedly, V8 engine specialist Graham Nash, who ran MIke
Newton's Saleen S7Rs a few years ago, was visiting Spa this
weekend, and was called in to assist with the car's Ford
engine. It is, at least, running. The drizzle has eased.
The safety car has been called out to give marshals around
the track time to clear the circuit of debris. Mike is one
of several cars to elect to take this opportunity for a
pitstop, and he does so at 3:16. It is a smooth and trouble-free
visit, and he's rapidly back out on track again.
Tim Greaves pits Bruichladdich Radical during the safety
car period as well, from second in LMP2. Lienhard moves
forward into second, but then also makes a pitstop. Mike
has been waved by the Safety Car, and is attempting to catch
up with the forward train of cars.
Reports of further rain as Mike joins the end of the queue.
With rain now falling around some lengths of the track,
the green flags are waved at the startline, and racing resumes.
Some have been caught out by the changing conditions, and
one of the Spykers spins off.
Although the race back back under way, it is still hard
to tell exactly what the gaps are between cars. Mike has
moved up to 4th overall, and leads LMP2 from Amaral in the
Quifel ASM Lola by a lap and 25 seconds. Didier Theys is
running third in class (7th overall) but more than two laps
adrift of the lead.
Major incident at the exit of Virage between the Kruse Courage
and the Chad Racing #84 Panoz. The Panoz struggles back
to the pitlane, but the Kruse car appears to be badly damaged.
Several other cars are lucky not to be caught.
Once again, the safety car is deployed. Mike has Amaral
right behind him in the queue, although a lap down in the
With orders from Phil Barker to "defend your position",
Mike takes the restart.
Horag Lola is tipped into a spin while trying to pass a
tail-ender GT2 Porsche, the #79, and the #21 Bruichladdich
Radical has pulled off at Virage, Turn 8.
Mike is hit by the Team Modena #59 Aston Martin at La Source.
The Aston simply cut in to the side of the MG as MIke was
negotiating the corner. The Aston spun as a result, but
both cars have continued. Mike has radioed in to suggest
that there does not appear to be any serious damage, but
will monitor the situation.
MIke is now on the tail of the Horag Lola, but a good two
laps ahead already. Spotters confirm that there is some
visible damage to the left hand side of the MG. Tommy is
getting ready for the driver change. Mike is running 4th
overall, leading LMP2 by more than a lap over Amaral in
the ASM Lola, with Ojeh now third in the Barazi Zytek.
Manager of Team Modena has been called to Race Control to
account for the actions of his driver, in this case ex-Formula
1 "ace" Christian Fittipaldi. In the RML garage,
preparations are being made to make good any damage to the
MG when it comes in next time around, planned to coincide
with a driver change to Thomas Erdos. A new side pod may
be required, and cooling radiators will be assessed for
Confirmation that the Bruichladdich Radical is out of the
race with engine problems. Timing screens suggest that Mike's
advantage over the Amaral Lola is 1:52.
Further incidents around the track, as the Creation spins
with what appears to be a puncture, but there's much more
serious happenings out at Stavelot, where the #76, from
third in GT2, has gone off heavily into the tyre wall. Not
certain if the two are unrelated
Mike into the pits. Rapid refuel and driver change while
the crew check the car for damage. Nothing significant is
found. Tommy safely in the car, and away after a pitstop
only a few seconds longer than usual. He exits the pitlane
just as the safety car negotiates the Bus Stop chicane,
and with its lights still flashing. That means at least
another lap before racing resumes, and the possibility that
Tommy can catch up with the tail end of the queue.
The safety car continues to circulate at a very slow pace,
allowing Tommy to rejoin the end of the queue. He has Vergers
behind him, but the Dutchman is two laps in arrears. He
is only 17 seconds behind Tinseau, third overall in the
#17 Pescarolo Sport LMP1.
Reports of rain at the top of the circuit.
Tommy is tracking Vergers, who is ahead of him on track
but several laps behind him in the race. Both are running
significantly faster than Tinseau in the LMP1 Pescarolo.
Heavy rain starts at the top of the circuit, and then spreads
down to the pit straight as well. This precipitates a fantastic
battle for the lead in GT2 between Pompidou and Simonsen.
Pompidou takes the lead at the bus stop, and Simonsen pits
for a change of tyres.
Rain easing on the pit straight. Tommy content to stay on
slicks for now. He has a lap's advantage on Burgeno. MIke
Newton, making the most of his experience as a pilot, believes
that the rain will not last long.
The rain has indeed stopped. Tommy is now pressing on, and
has closed significantly on Tinseau again. Those that came
in for wets are now re-pitting to refit slicks.
Stop-go penalty awarded to #31 Binnie Motorsports Lola -
reason unknown. Tommy is one lap and 16 seconds ahead of
Burgeno, second in the class, with Vergers third and Theys
fourth. Binnie Lola was fifth, and likely to hold that despite
the enforced pitlane visit.
Under race conditions, Tommy has closed to within 14 seconds
of Tinseau and is generally lapping quicker, making allowances
for traffic. The Embassy Radical has rejoined the race,
but is in 35th position overall, forty laps behind the class
Tommy continues to press on, posting some very impressive
times and consistently running as quickest in the class.
Setting 2:11.031 on his 117th lap was one of his quickest
yet, and he continues to pull away from Burgeno in second.
The #85 Spyker spins off
wildly at Eau Rouge, and buries itself inn the tyre wall
at the top. The safety car is immediately deployed. Phil
Barker calls Tommy in straight away for a pitstop, which
was almost due anyway. He enters the pitlane at the end
of his next lap (5:27) and moves smoothly though a refuel.
Confirmed that there are 19 laps remaining to the end of
Heavy rain again in some areas of the circuit, but under
the safety car no pressure as yet to pit for wet tyres.
During the various pitstops, Tommy has moved through into
third position, and currently has more than 40 seconds on
Tinseau, now fourth in the LMP1 Pescarolo.
Jarek Janis, driver in the Spyker, is now out of the car
and has been collected by an ambulance to ferry him to the
circuit medical centre for a check-up. His condition is
Tommy is waved through. Having been just ahead of the leader,
he can make up half a lap or so before the restart, and
re-establish his lead over the #17 Pescarolo. The lights
had gone out, and a restart was expected, but then the lights
came back on again, so the safety car will complete at least
on further lap.
The lights do go off, and the screens announce a restart
Thirteen laps to the flag. Tommy has generous lead in LMP2,
but there's a tight battle enfolding between Burgeno and
Vergers for second. It begins on the run down to Eau Rouge,
and continues on then run up towards Les Combes, where Mucke
in the LMP1 Charouz Lola gets in between them. Tommy has
a good lead over Tinseau for third overall.
Vergers clips the back of Burgueno's Lola in an ambitious
overtaking attempt at Virage, and damages the front left-hand
wheel of the Barazi Zytek. It appears that the Zytek's suspension
has broken. He is attempting to bring the car back to the
pitlane, but it looks an almost impossible task. There may
also be damage to the ASM Lola too.
Standings currently show Tommy third overall, leading LMP2
from Angel Burgueno in the Quifel ASM Lola second, fifth
overall. Between them is Tinseau in the #17 Pescarolo, but
having just made another pitstop the LMP1 car may lose yet
Vergers pulls over to the side of the track in the Barazi
Zytek. This means third place for the Binnie Motorsports
Lola. Warren Hughes, languishing in 34th place, has just
set the Embassy Radical's fastest lap of the race at 2:10.636.
Bill Binnie, in his own car, hits the #35 Saulnier Courage
into the Bus Stop. The Courage spins, but without serious
damage. Binnie is currently fourth and the #35 fifth, but
with two laps between them, so they were not fighting for
Five laps to the finish.
Tommy takes the chequered flag to win LMP2, but
also in an awesome third position overall.
This is an impressive showing from the LMP2 category, with
three cars in the top ten and RML's MG Lola EX264 on the
overall podium for the first time.
full results of all races and events being staged at the
Spa this weekend, please visit this
where it is possible to download PDF files for all sessions.
Live timing is also on offer via this link.
are high resolution images posted in the Spa