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Le Mans Series 2007
Round 2. Monza 1000 Kilometers. April 13th-15th 2007
Qualifying Press Release. Issued April 14th 2007

Erdos and RML rise to the challenge

Thomas Erdos rose to the new challenge in qualifying for the opening round of the 2007 Le Mans Series, finding more than two seconds over his previous best on the Monza circuit to claim third in LMP2 for RML’s MG Lola EX264.

Three rigorous practice sessions over the previous two days had revealed that competition in the LMP2 category of the series is more intensive than ever before, with seven or eight cars each with a chance of pole. In the end, it came down to a three-way battle between the RML MG, the similar Quifel ASM Racing Lola B05/40, and the new Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S.

With the start of the segregated qualifying session delayed by twenty minutes while the track was treated for oil spillage, RML’s Team Manager, Phil Barker wisely kept Erdos in the garage, maintaining heat in the tyres, while others sat at the pit exit waiting for the green flag. When it came, Erdos was quick to take to the track, and his opening flyer set a new best time for the MG of 1:41.531. This laid claim to second, just behind Burgeño in the ASM Lola, before Vergers came through in the Zytek with a new provisional pole time of 1:39.481.

Each car then made a series of minor improvements before Tommy clocked 1:40.146 to move into second, just behind Vergers, but ahead of Burgeño. With that lap the Brazilian returned to the pitlane, and the MG was hauled backwards into the garage. “That was as good a lap as I felt I could do,” explained Erdos. “I got the best out of the car. Maybe I could have gone a bit quicker, but not safely, and not without risks.” Convinced he could do no better, he sat out the remaining five minutes. In those closing stages, Burgeño found another half second, topping the charts with a best of 1:39.271 to clinch class pole, with the Zytek second. “The tyres were good, the balance was good, but the others were just a bit quicker,” observed Erdos. Placing this within context, LMP2 pole in 2005, the last time the series raced at Monza, was 1:41.111, and Tommy’s quickest in the MG on that occasion had been 1.42.028.

“Following on from the changes we made yesterday, and with it being Tommy’s first run on new tyres, that was very pleasing,” said Phil Barker, able to smile at last. “We knew the car had more time to come, but that was an exceptional lap from Tommy – very good, and perhaps better than we’d expected.” Adam Wiseberg, Motorsport Director at AD Holdings, principal sponsor for the RML Sportscar Programme, was equally impressed. “That was an excellent qualifying session and a great performance from Tommy,” he said. “On our 2006-specification bodywork, I think it’s true to say that Tommy exceeded our expectations, as always.”

Ray Mallock, founder and Chief Executive of RML, was evidently delighted to see the MG fighting so strongly for pole. “We’re pleased that the set-up changes we made after practice resulted in such a significant improvement in lap time. Tommy is happy with the car now and, as usual, we’ll do our own race, and see what comes out at the end.”

“We’ve got a well-balanced car, ready to race,” said Barker. “It now remains to be seen just how strong the others are going to be over a thousand kilometres.” The race starts tomorrow at 13:00, local time, and will run for six hours or 1000 kms, whichever is the shorter.

High resolution images from Monza may be viewed and downloaded from the Monza gallery.