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Le Mans Series 2007
Round 3. Nurburgring 1000 Kilometers. June 29th - July 1st 2007
Qualifying Press Release. Issued June 30th 2007

Erdos sets the pace for P2 Pole

Thomas Erdos drove the RML MG Lola EX264 to class pole for Round 3 of the 2007 Le Mans Series at the Nurburgring in Germany today.

The Brazilian set a blisteringly quick time of 1:45.492 on his third flying lap to clinch the front-row in LMP2, and thereby secure his first pole position start of the season. With almost half the qualifying session remaining, Erdos brought the MG back to the pitlane to sit out the remaining minutes. Others tried to match, or better, his time, but only Michael Vergers in the Barazi Epsilon Zytek came close. The Dutchman, who took pole for the previous round in Valencia, clawed closer and closer, but narrowly fell short at the end by 47 one-hundredths of a second.

Claiming pole came at the conclusion of two days of determined effort by the RML crew, who had worked tirelessly to establish an ideal set-up for the MG Lola EX264 around the twisty, high-downforce Nurburgring circuit. With each hour-long test the drivers grew more comfortable with the car’s handling and performance, and late during Friday’s second session, Erdos topped the LMP2 timesheet with a best of 1:46.308, fourth fastest overall. While it seemed unlikely he’d be able to match that relative position in qualifying, it was a tremendous boost to the team. Equally so was the three-second improvement in personal best from Mike Newton, who managed this not once, but consistently throughout a half-hour stint.

After the disappointment of Le Mans two weeks previously, today’s result was the perfect tonic for everyone concerned. “I always believed that pole was a possibility,” said an ebullient Adam Wiseberg, Motorsport Director of AD Group. “I’m particularly delighted for the guys in the team that Tommy achieved it today, and with such a outstanding lap. Everyone has worked so hard to create a car that can go out and beat the opposition on pace, and this has given them all a tremendous boost.”

“I felt we could have gone a little quicker, perhaps,” suggested Erdos, “but we needed to put (our rivals) into the position where they had to push hard, and they did exactly that. Now we can go forward into the race knowing that we’re in good shape, with plenty of life left in the tyres. The Zytek is widely perceived to be the leading chassis in the class, so it makes it even sweeter to get pole here at the Nurburgring.”

Phil Barker was especially pleased with Mike Newton’s performance in testing. “He transformed his laps,” said the RML Team Manager. “The improvement he’s made this weekend is nothing short of dramatic, and it really strengthens our position for the race.” Mike himself was “very pleased that everything that wasn’t working on Friday, came together so perfectly in third practice today. We looked at the data, picked out four or five elements where there was room for improvement, and I went out there and ticked them off one by one.”

The 1000 kilometre race starts at midday tomorrow, Sunday July 1st, and will run for 195 laps or six hours. Thomas Erdos will take the start, easier in the knowledge that he begins the race one row ahead of his nearest rival. “As always, it’s a long race,” concluded Adam Wiseberg, “but I believe we’re in as good a shape for a 1000 kilometre race as we’ve ever been.”

Top Ten in LMP2

Pos No. Overall Team Driver Car
8 RML AD Group Erdos/Newton MG Lola EX264
9 Barazi Epsilon Vergers/Ojeh/Barazi Zytek 07S
12 Bruichladdich Moseley/Greaves Radical SR9 AER
15 Quifel ASM Amaral/de Castro/Burgueno Lola B05/40 AER
17 Embassy Racing Hughes/Cunningham Radical SR9 AER
18 Binnie Motorsports Binnie/Timpany/Buncombe Lola B05/40 Zytek
19 Kruse Motorsport Burgess/de Pourtales/Siedler Pescarolo C60 Judd
20 Saulnier Racing Nicolet/Filhol/Jouanny Courage LC75 AER
21 Horag Racing Lienhard/Theys/Van der Poele Lola B05/40 Judd
22 Pierre Bruneau Rostan/Bruneau/Pullan Pillbeam MP93 Judd

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