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Le Mans Series 2007
Round 2. Valencia 1000 Kilometers. May 4th-6th 2007
Qualifying Press Release. Issued May 5th 2007

Stunning Lap from Erdos

A remarkable lap from Thomas Erdos in qualifying for the second round of the 2007 Le Mans Series in Valencia ensured a third-row start overall for the LMP2 category RML MG Lola EX264.

Out-qualifying two-thirds of the LMP1 field had never really been a consideration for the team, despite two days of very encouraging Free Practice, but that’s exactly what the Brazilian achieved. The Spanish circuit is a tight, twisty track with only one significant straight, and this suits the lighter, perhaps more nimble LMP2 cars. Fitted with an updated aerodynamic package for the first time this year, the RML pit crew was able to dial in a high-downforce set-up that achieved a near-perfect balance for the car – and one that Erdos was able to exploit.

Unusually, Erdos was one of the first to leave the garages for the twenty-minute prototypes-only qualifying session. “The track was clear, so we decided to let him go for it!” said co-driver Mike Newton. Tommy’s first lap took him straight to the top of the LMP2 classification, and was followed swiftly by two more improvements that set him third overall with a new best of 1:25.946. There he remained for several minutes, leading LMP2, before Michael Vergers came through with a time of 1:25.606 in the Barazi Epsilon Zytek to snatch class pole. The overall front row fell once again to the new Peugeot 908 LMP1 coupés, with two other P1 cars setting quick times. However, with the leading P2 cars fourth and sixth, the complexion at the front of the grid was very different from that seen a few weeks ago at the flat-out, low-downforce Monza circuit.

Just three-tenths separated Erdos from Vergers, but more than a second split the MG from the third-placed Quifel ASM Lola, with the Bruichladdich Radical #21 fourth. That significant gap was occupied by three LMP1 cars, offering “a comfortable buffer zone,” according to Mike Newton.

“After the experience of Monza, it’s good to feel that we’re in the ball-park once again,” said a very satisfied Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML. “Tommy pulled out another very special lap for us today. He did predict to me this morning that he could perhaps do a twenty-five, so I’m delighted that we were able to prove him right.”

Erdos, looking particularly relaxed, said; “We extracted what we could out of the car today, and with what we’re learning about the new aero kit, we can only build on that and get better. It’s also nice to be the first Lola chassis on the grid!”

Adam Wiseberg, Motorsport Director for AD Holdings, principal sponsor for RML’s sports prototype programme, was delighted. “We prefer pole to second, of course,” he grinned, “but to be ahead of so many P1 cars on our first run with the new aero kit is very encouraging. I never cease to be impressed by the way Tommy can always pull these stunning laps out of the bag.”

The team finished second at Monza in round one, although led the class for most of the race. The competition remains particularly tight in LMP2, but the opening few seconds of tomorrow’s race could be crucial. “The start will be the difficult moment,” conceded Phil Barker. “It’s the only point where the P1 cars have the better of us, and the scrum into Turn One could be critical for the rest of the race.” The 1000 kilometre race begins at 13:30 local time on Sunday.

Top Ten Times

Pos No. Class Team Driver Car
LMP1 Team Peugeot Total Marc GENE Peugeot 908 Hdi FAP
LMP1 Team Peugeot Total Pedro LAMY Peugeot 908 Hdi FAP
LMP1 Arena Motorsport Hayanari SHIMODA Zytek 07S LMP1
LMP2 Barazi Epsilon Michael VERGERS Zytek 07S LMP2
LMP1 Pescarolo Sport Romain DUMAS Pescarolo C60 Judd
LMP2 RML Tommy ERDOS MG Lola EX264
LMP1 Charouz Racing Alex YOONG Lola B07/17 Judd
LMP1 Swiss Spirit Marcel FASSLER Lola B07/10 Audi
LMP1 Rollcentre Racing Joao BARBOSA Pescarolo C60 Judd
LMP2 Quifel ASM Miguel De CASTRO Lola B05/40 AER

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