Lola’s new sportscar - the B06/10 LMP1 design had a superb debut in the first round of the 2006 Le Mans Series at Istanbul in the hands of the Chamberlain Synergy squad yesterday. Bob Berridge/Gareth Evans and Peter Owen finished a creditable 4th overall to score valuable points in the five race series.

In a race shortened due to a fuel shortage at the circuit the yellow LMP1 car adapted to difficult conditions of rain and cold temperatures to come home 4th overall and 3rd in the LMP1 class.

Berridge had started the race and in what was his first experience at the track, he excelled in the difficult conditions taking the AER twin turbo Lola up from 10th at the start to 5th at the first pit stop. However a small problem during the stops lost time for the team, as team manager Dave Lampitt explained: "We lost an air jack when we changed tyres before the start and that meant some slow stops. It was frustrating but all three drivers did a really good job today."

Berridge handed over to 2005 LMP2 drivers champion - Gareth Evans who drove a faultless stint before pitting at the two-and-a-half hour mark. He stayed on board for a double stint before handing the stearing wheel over to Peter Owen who completed the race.

After two impeccably reliable tests at Paul ricard and Estoril, the Chamberlain Synergy Lola had another trouble free run at Istanbul and the crew are confident that more podiums will come their way at the forthcoming Spa Francorchampsrace on May 14. They will also take part in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

"We didn’t give the drivers a good qualifying car at all, but it proved to be a good race car,” said the teams experienced team principal Hugh Chamberlain. “I don’t care where we are in relation to LMP2 cars, because we’re not racing them for points - we’re racing the LMP1s. The weather hasn’t helped, and although we went in the right direction, straight away, at Estoril and Paul Ricard (with the car set-up) we didn’t get it right here - at least, not for qualifying. The race was a great effort by all concerned and we take a great deal from this. The car has massive potential.”

RML endured a very unlucky weekend at Istanbul when their race was ended almost before it had begun. Tommy Erdos was hit by the Courage of Jean Marc Gounon as the race was starting and speared in to the pit wall severely damaging their Huntingdon built MG-Lola LMP2 car.

"That was ridiculous at the start of an endurance race,” exclaimed the bemused Brazilian. “It makes no sense. He’s a quick driver, but it takes more than that to be a good driver."

Before the accident the team had starred in qualifying with Erdos putting the AER powered LMP2 car on to the second row of the grid. It was a tremendous performance from the Wellingborough based team and they showed that they are not only the quickest LMP2 car out there at the moment but also one capable of challenging for outright podium positions.

Despite the accident, the RML team displayed great fortitude in getting the car repaired and out in to the race again. The car completed 102 laps and set the fastest LMP2 lap of the race with a 1m43.125s lap.

A big weekend of sportscar action will take place on May 14 when the Spa Francorchamps 100kms takes place. The day before will see the second round of the 2006 ALMS series at Houston where Dyson Racing, Intersport Racing, Autocon and Highcroft Racing will be in action with Lola sportscars.

Class winners highlighted bold

1 Pescarolo Sport COLLARD Emmanuel BOULLION Jean-Christophe Pescarolo C60 Judd LMP1 134 laps
2 32 Barazi Epsilon VERGERS Michael BARAZI Juan BELLOC Jean-Philippe Courage C65 AER LMP2 128 laps
3 Lister Storm Racing KEEN Justin KIESA Nick MOLLER Jens Lister Storm Hybrid LMP1 127 laps
4 Chamberlain Synergy BERRIDGE Bob EVANS Gareth OWEN Peter Lola B06/10 AER LMP1 126 laps
5 20 Pierre Bruneau ROSTAN Marc BRUNEAU Pierre Pilbeam Judd LMP2 125 laps
6 50 Aston Martin Larbre LAMY Pedro GARDEL Gabrielle VOSSE Vincent Aston Martin DBR9 LMGT1 124 laps
7 35 G-Force MORRIS Ed LEROCH Jean-Francois HAHN Frank Courage C65 Judd LMP2 +30.422
8 37 Paul Belmondo Racing BELMONDO Paul ANDRE Didier CLAIRAY Yann Courage C65 Ford LMP2 123 laps
9 67 Convers Menx Team KOX Peter PERGL Robert VASILIEV Alexei Ferrari 550 Maranello LMGT1 +4.891secs
10 72 Alphand Aventures POLICAND JeromeGOUESLARD PatriceBELTOISE Anthony Corvette C5-R LMGT1 122 laps
11 61 Cirtek Motorsport KINCH Nathan GARCIA Antonio Aston Martin DBR9 LMGT1 +47.063
12 62 Cirtek Motorsport HARDAM Peter VANN Christian Aston Martin DBR9 LMGT1 +1:15.610
13 22 Rollcentre Racing BARBOSA Joao SHORT Martin GREAVES Tim Radical SR9 Judd LMP2 120 laps
14 97 GPC SPORT DRUDI Luca ROSA Gabrio DE SIMONE Fabrizio Ferrari 430 GT LMGT2 119 laps
15 76 Autorlando Sport LIEB Marc CAMATHIAS Joel Porsche 996 GT3 RSR LMGT2 +7.578
16 82 Team LNT TOMLINSON Lawrence DEAN Richard Panoz Esperante GTLN LMGT2 118 laps
17 92 IMSA Perf. Matmut BOUCHUT Christophe DUMEZ Sebastien NARAC Raymond Porsche 996 LMGT2 +10.094
18 85 Spyker Squadron BLEEKEMOLEN Jeroen HEZEMANS Mike Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R LMGT2 +18.407
19 90 Farnbacher Racing EHRET Pierre FARNBACHER Dominik Porsche 996 GT3 RSR LMGT2 117 laps
20 36 Paul Belmondo Racing GOSSELIN Claude-Yves OJJEH Karim RAGUES Pierre Courage C65 Ford LMP2 116 laps
21 86 Spyker Squadron KANE Jonny CREVELS Donny Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R LMGT2 +39.641
22 99 Virgo Motorsport EAGLING Dan SUGDEN Tim KHAN Ian Ferrari 430 GT LMGT2 115 laps
23 77 Seikel Motorsport BURGESS Tony COLLIN Philip BERGMEISTER Tim Porsche 996 GT3 RSR LMGT2 113 laps
24 73 Ice Pol Racing Team LAMBERT Yves LEFORT ChristianI ANNETTA Romain Porsche 996 GT3 RSR LMGT2 112 laps
25 78 Autorlando Sport KRISTENSEN Gunnar EDMANN Jens SIMONSEN Allen Porsche 996 GT3 RSR LMGT2 111 laps
26 75 Thierry Perrier SMITH Nigel HESNAULT Philippe WILSON Rob Porsche 996 GT3 RSR LMGT2 107 laps
27 25 RML NEWTON Mike ERDOS Tommy MG Lola EX 264 LMP2 102laps
28 80 Farnbacher Racing NIELSEN Lars Erik SEEFRIED Marco Porsche 996 GT3 RSR LMGT2 88 laps
29 70 PSI Experience KUISMANEN Pertti MENTEN Jos PALTTALA Markus Corvette C6-R LMGT1 79 laps
30 13 Courage Competition GOUNON Jean-Marc NAKANO Shinji KUROSAWA Haruki Courage LC70 Mugen LMP1 78 laps
31 14 Racing for Holland LAMMERS Jan YOONG Alex Dome Mugen LMP1 62 laps
32 9 Creation Autosportif MINASSIAN Nicolas ORTIZ Felipe GABBIANI Beppe Creation Judd LMP1 56 laps
33 81 Team LNT HUGHES Warren BELL Robert Panoz Esperante GTLM LMGT2 28 laps
34 28 Randaccio Ranieri RANDACCIO Ranieri MANCINI Fabio COLLINI Gianni Lucchini LMP2 LMP2 26 laps
35 84 Team Icer Brakes VILLARROEL Jesus Die SUNDBERG Peter Ferrari 430 GT LMGT2 23 laps
36 5 Swiss Spirit PRIMAT Harold FASSLER Marcel Courage LC 70 Judd LMP1 20 laps

A good start for the B06/10.