A Lola LMP2 podium lock-out was the highlight of the latest round of the Le Mans Series at Spa Francorchamps over the weekend.

The unique 1-2-3 result was backed up by pole position by the RML team, who also had a sensational start to the race when Tommy Erdos ran 2nd overall in the early frenetic stages of the classic 6 hour event.

However it was the Chamberlain Synergy/ASM team that scored a superb debut win and a brilliant 4th overall on the iconic Spa circuit. Angel Burgueno/Miguel Angel De Castro and team owner Miguel Amaral celebrated their B05/40's second consecutive win at Spa, as last year the now LMP1 trio of Bob Berridge/Peter Owen and Gareth Evans had also triumphed.

The Iberian trio started the race from second place on the LMP2 grid but were soon running as high as second overall with ex British F3 racer Burgueno marking himself out to be a future sportscar star.

"We are not surprised to win LMP2 because that is what we wanted and expected to do," said the confident Spaniard. "We are maybe a little bit surprised about where we were with the LMP1s but we did know we were very competitive. We were very happy with the set-up, it was really comfortable
 to drive and no stress to keep a good pace. We lost out on the overall podium by a little but the car was perfect, I did a 2:08 in my first stint and then an hour before the end I did the same again."

There were some nervous moments in the dying stages of the race for the team as Amaral endured a couple of spins, one at La Source and the other, a heart stopping gyration at Eau Rouge. But the Portuguese driver/owner was highly delighted with the Lola and the fantastic way his team performed, saying;

"The car was faultless. This was our first race and we expected some minor problems but they never really came."

Unfortunately Chamberlain Synergy's LMP1 entry for Berridge/Owen and Evans retired from the race on lap 3 when Peter Owen lost control of the car on cold tyres behind the safety car. The unfortunate Humbersider hit the wall coming out of the La Source hairpin and damaged the B06/10.

It had been a hectic start for the Chamberlain Synergy crew as the team decided to make a driver change during the race stoppage. Owen replaced Berridge and the AER powered Lola went back in to the race only for the accident to intervene in what on the whole had been a positive weekend for the team. Qualifying 6th, Berridge and crew were hopeful of a strong result but now the team must prepare for the Le Mans 24 Hours next month.

If not for a puncture in the first hour of the race, RML would have been fighting for second overall, the position that Erdos brilliantly pulled off at the start of the race. However, RML's perennial bad luck struck again when the puncture meant that Erdos was forced to complete almost an entire lap of the 4.3 mile circuit with the errant tyre.

"The puncture early on probably cost us a lap and a half, I have no idea where we picked it up, I definitely didn't drive over any debris, but the Chamberlain guys drove a very strong race," concluded Erdos.

An impressive double stint by Mike Newton made sure that when he handed back over to Erdos, the Brazilian was able to make up for lost time and bring the car up to 5th overall and second in class for the AER powered car. The Wellingborough based team now head to Le Mans to defend their LMP2 class crown.

Binnie Motorsport completed the Lola podium hat-trick as Bill Binnie/Sam Hancock and Allen Timpany claimed the cars best ever result in the LMES/LMS.

The Zytek engined Lola B05/40 had undergone a successful test at Donington prior to Spa and it paid off for the team with Hancock turning in some impressive times in the Anglo/American car.

Despite a small alternator problem in the early stages the car came through to claim   6th placeoverall as well as rounding out the LMP2 podium. It was a result that left team owner/driver Bill Binnie very happy indeed. Sam Hancock too was delighted with the teams second podium (after Sebring) on the trot. But it was an anxious start for Hancock who suffered at the hands of the safety car, which was brought out after a multi car incident at Radillon on the opening lap.

"After the slowness of the safety cars laps - everyone's engine temps were soaring, and we were about to blow an engine," stated Hancock. "The rising temperature triggered a domino effect in the electronics and the alternator stopped working, but I lost the dash and the gearshift. I realised that I could have one or the other, so I chose the gearshift (!), but we didn't know if the battery was charging. As I passed the pits I got one flash of data to the team, and they could see that the battery wasn't charging, so we had to change the alternator. I was on a bit of a mission after that. We recovered a lot of ground. Bill was really going for it at the end. We haven't really set the car up too well, we had too much downforce, but the team will have it perfect for Le Mans."

Next up for Lola's sportscar customers will be the Le Mans 24 Hours test day Sunday 4th June followed by the race itself on Saturday/Sunday 17/18th June. Chamberlain Synergy, Intersport Racing, Binnie Motorsports and RML will all be in action at LA Sarthe this year.


Pos  Cl   Drivers                                  Make                                   Laps

 1.  P1   Collard/Boullion             Pescarolo C60 Judd    
 2.  P1   Primat/Fassler               Courage LC 70 Judd    
 3.  P1   Nielsen/Elgaard/Andersen     Zytek 06S             
 4.  P2   Amaral/Angel/Burgueno        Lola B05/40 AER       
 5.  P2   Newton/Erdos                 MG Lola EX 264        
 6.  P2   Binnie/Timpany/Hancock       Lola 05/42 Zytek      
 7.  GT1  Ortelli/Ayari                Saleen S7R            
 8.  P2   Vergers/Barazi/Valsecchi     Courage C65 AER        
 9.  GT1  Garcia/Lyons                 Aston Martin DBR9     
10.  GT1  Kuismanen/Menten/Palttala    Corvette C6-R          126

11.  GT1  Hardman/Vann/Campbell-W.     Aston Martin DBR9  126

12.  GT1  Kox/Pergl/Vasiliev           Ferrari 550 Maranello 
13.  GT1  Policand/Goueslard/Beltoise  Corvette C5-R          
14.  P2   Gosselin/Ojjeh/Ragues        Courage C65 Ford       123

15.  GT2  Lieb/Camathias               Porsche 996 GT3 RSR    123

16.  GT2  Tomlinson/Dean/Kimber-Smith  Panoz Esperante  122

17.  GT2  Eagling/Sugden               Ferrari 430 GT        
18.  GT2  Nielsen/Seefried             Porsche 996 GT3 RSR    122

19.  GT2  Bouchut/Narac                Porsche 996           
20.  GT2  Smith/Barbosa/Hesnault       Porsche 996 GT3 RSR   119

21.  GT2  Burgess/Collin/Bergmeister   Porsche 996 GT3 RSR   118

22.  GT2  Lambert/Lefort/Iannetta      Porsche 996 GT3 RSR    114

23.  GT2  Hartshorne/Dockerill         TVR Tuscan T400R       111

24.  GT2  Bleekemolen/Hezemans         Spyker C8 Spyder


Cl   Drivers                                      Make                                 Laps
P2   Rostan/Bruneau               Pilbeam Judd             
GT1  Lamy/Gardel/Vosse            Aston Martin DBR9     
P1   Gounon/Frei                  Courage LC70 Mugen       47

P2   Andre/Clairay                Courage C65 Ford      
GT2  Ehret/Farnbacher             Porsche 996 GT3 RSR    
GT2  Konopka/Yamagishi/Graves     Porsche 996 GT3 RS   80

P2   Randaccio/Mancini/Collini    Lucchini LMP2         
P2   Short/Greaves/Fisken         Radical SR9 Judd       
P1   Nakano/Kurosawa              Courage LC70 Mugen     
GT2  Hughes/Bell                  Panoz Esperante GTLM   
GT2  Drudi/Rosa/De Simone         Ferrari 430 GT         
P1   Kiesa/Moller                 Lister Storm Hybrid      42  
GT2  Kane/Crevels                 Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R  
P1   Berridge/Evans/Owen          Lola B06/10 AER         
GT1  Leuenberger/Walchhofer/Fra   Lamborghini Murcielago  1

Fastest lap: Collard/Boullion, 2:06.687 on lap 55

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