Race Report 02 - The End of a Dream. June 17th 2007
~ The End of a Dream
hopes of completing an unprecedented hat-trick of LMP2 wins
in the Le Mans 24 Hours literally went up in smoke at 09:53
on Sunday morning, when the MG Lola EX264’s AER turbocharged
engine blew a piston along the Mulsanne.
ended a dream that had still been very much alive only moments
before, after the team had worked with such determination
and skill to recover what had looked to be a lost cause.
Fifteen hours previously the MG had been involved in a heavy
accident at the entry to the Porsche Curves, part-way through
Andy Wallace’s second stint. Following an extended
pitstop of 52 minutes to carry out major repairs, the car
occupied “dead last” position. Since that time
the #25 car had moved smoothly through the night to reach
20th overall and second in LMP2 – an occasion Thomas
Erdos marked at just after nine o’clock by setting
a new fastest lap of 3:45.773 for the RML AD Group entry.
many respects, it had been as uneventful a process as any
team could wish for. Between them Mike Newton and Thomas
Erdos had filled in the darkest hours, each completing triple
stints at the wheel and thereby allowing Andy Wallace a
bruised and suffering from the effects of concussion, Andy
is well. He had been offered the choice of whether or not
he wished to drive again today, but had not recovered sufficiently
well to do so before the car retired. “The car was
running so well,” said Mike Newton. “Our main
challenge had been to see how best to manage the driving
stints. Tommy and I shared the last twelve hours, and would
have continued to do so through to the finish, if that had
been necessary.” Mike was not to be given that opportunity.
Only minutes after taking on his next stint, the engine
blew in a most spectacular fashion.
was an air of universal dejection within the team. “It
would have been better if this had happened when we were
fiftieth, not second,” said Phil Barker, Team Manager.
Mallock, Chief Executive and Founder of RML, was stunned.
“It had been great to see the car recovering so strongly
through the night. Mike and Tommy did a fantastic job, taking
on the burden of all the driving between them, and this
is the cruellest bad luck.”
Wiseberg, Motorsport Director of AD Group, the principal
partner in RML’s sportscar programme, was devastated.
“The team did such a remarkable job to get the car
back into the race, and Mike and Tommy drove splendidly
to recover so much lost ground. They deserved better, but
this is Le Mans, and as we know, anything can happen. We
have been fortunate to win here twice before, and we’ll
be back again.”
high resolution gallery an be found here.