Return to Home Page Click here to discover more about the MG EX264 The latest news from AD Motorsport and RML Race Reports and Galleries Team History and Personnel Driver Profiles Media Information and Log-in Useful Links Team sponsors and how to become one Merchandise and Downloads
Click here to view previous raceClick here to move on to next race

Le Mans Series 2008
Round 1. Catalunya 1000 Kilometres. April 5th-6th 2008
Qualifying Press Release. Issued April 5th 2008

RML Hamstrung by Technical Issues

RML AD Group’s Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos remain buoyant ahead of this weekend’s 1000 Kilometres of Catalunya in Spain, despite having two-days of practice and qualifying hampered by engine management problems.

The reigning Le Mans Series LMP2 champions came to Barcelona knowing that they face a stiff challenge this season from fresh teams, new cars and several highly-experienced driver line-ups. In the end, they found that the greater trial in Barcelona would begin from within. The team announced a new engine deal in January, and the introduction of the MG AER XP-21 unit heralds an exciting new phase in RML’s sportscar programme. However, at the official Le Mans test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France in March, the car suffered two unexpected engine failures. Since then the team has worked tirelessly in conjunction with engine preparation specialists AER to address the problem, which had been traced to a compatibility issue with a new bio-fuel formulation. Tests in the UK demonstrated great strides forward, but not until the squad arrived in Spain were they able to begin detailed race-preparation procedures.

Over the course of three, hour-long practice sessions, the team made significant progress. Having been seventh fastest out of fifteen in LMP2 during the first session, they progressed to fourth quickest by the end of the second, and were faster still during Saturday’s third period. “We’d had engine management issues throughout the first two practice sessions,” explained Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML. “Then it looked as if we’d got on top of them by the third, when Tommy set his fastest lap. Unfortunately, during qualifying the problem seems have returned, although the situation may also have been made more acute by the wrong choice of tyres.”

Thomas Erdos started qualifying with great confidence, and was first on track at the beginning of the fifteen-minute session. He was followed out by one of the Audi R10s, and during the process of the out-lap, the LMP1 prototype swept by the LMP2 MG to start the first flying lap narrowly ahead of Erdos. Pushing on what Tommy thought would be his best opportunity on fresh tyres – which peak just two or three laps into a stint – Erdos was alarmed when the Audi went sideways through Turn 3. “He got out of shape and I had to back right off – otherwise I’d have gone straight into the side of him. I aborted that lap, and it would probably have been my best too. When I came through for the next lap I could tell that the tyres were past their best.”

On such narrow margins are grid positions lost and won. RML AD Group’s MG will now begin tomorrow’s 1000 kilometre, six-hour race from ninth in class, 21st overall. “We’ll start the race from the middle of the pack,” said Adam Wiseberg, Motorsport Director at AD Group. “It will be very tough for Tommy, but it’s still a six-hour race, and we intend to be there at the end.” Thomas Erdos agreed. “This is a good team, with an excellent record, and I’m confident we can rise above this. It’s a very long race, but provided we can make the most of our experience and the reliability of the chassis, we can still be there at then end, and get a good result out of this.” As Phil Barker concluded: “We’re not here to qualify, we’re here to do an endurance race. In that context, what’s one lap?”

Thomas admitted to being “disappointed”, but he and co-driver Mike Newton are already looking ahead, towards the race, which begins at 11:35 tomorrow, Sunday 6th April.

There are high resolution images posted in the Barcelona Gallery.

Back to Top