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
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,
"The car was faultless. This was our first race and we expected some minor problems but they never
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
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 134
2. P1 Primat/Fassler Courage LC 70 Judd 133
3. P1 Nielsen/Elgaard/Andersen Zytek 06S 132
4. P2 Amaral/Angel/Burgueno Lola B05/40 AER 132
5. P2 Newton/Erdos MG Lola EX 264 131
6. P2 Binnie/Timpany/Hancock Lola 05/42 Zytek 129
7. GT1 Ortelli/Ayari Saleen S7R 129
8. P2 Vergers/Barazi/Valsecchi Courage C65 AER 128
9. GT1 Garcia/Lyons Aston Martin DBR9 128
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 126
13. GT1 Policand/Goueslard/Beltoise Corvette C5-R 126
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 122
18. GT2 Nielsen/Seefried Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 122
19. GT2 Bouchut/Narac Porsche 996 121
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 96
Cl Drivers Make Laps
P2 Rostan/Bruneau Pilbeam Judd 79
GT1 Lamy/Gardel/Vosse Aston Martin DBR9 58
P1 Gounon/Frei Courage LC70 Mugen 47
P2 Andre/Clairay Courage C65 Ford 28
GT2 Ehret/Farnbacher Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 86
GT2 Konopka/Yamagishi/Graves Porsche 996 GT3 RS 80
P2 Randaccio/Mancini/Collini Lucchini LMP2 74
P2 Short/Greaves/Fisken Radical SR9 Judd 67
P1 Nakano/Kurosawa Courage LC70 Mugen 53
GT2 Hughes/Bell Panoz Esperante GTLM 49
GT2 Drudi/Rosa/De Simone Ferrari 430 GT 49
P1 Kiesa/Moller Lister Storm Hybrid 42
GT2 Kane/Crevels Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 26
P1 Berridge/Evans/Owen Lola B06/10 AER 3
GT1 Leuenberger/Walchhofer/Fra Lamborghini Murcielago 1
Fastest lap: Collard/Boullion, 2:06.687 on lap 55
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