Lola sportscars came away from Monza yesterday with another clean sweep of the LMP2 podium. Horag Racing led home the other Lola B05/40 chassis’ of RML and Binnie Motorsports. With Quifel ASM showing strongly and both the LMP1 Lola B07/10’s of the Skoda Charouz Racing System and Chamberlain Synergy starring at the front of the field, it was another ringing endorsement of the Huntingdon marques strength in designing winning Le Mans prototypes.
In what was a superb start to the European sportscar season for Horag Racing and its trio of experienced sportscar drivers Didier Theys, Fredy Leinhard and Eric Van De Poele, drove brilliantly in Italy, especially after their car did not return from Sebring until the Thursday before the race!
After a dramatic opening stint which saw Van De Poele contact a GT car, luckily without damage, the Swiss/German team enjoyed a trouble free race to score their second LMS success, following up their debut win at Nürburgring in 2005.
Van De Poele had handed over to team owner Fredy Leinhard after 60 laps and the Lista tools boss had a fine stint at the wheel and handed the red and white Lola-Judd over to Theys for the final two hours of the race.
For team owner Markus Hotz it was another great victory for his team that was founded in 1968 and went on to win many races in a Ferrari 333SP in the late 1990’s.
"This is an important day for our team,” said Hotz. “Everyone did a great job, and I'm very proud of my entire crew and our drivers. We had no real troubles, and it was a great day for all of us."
RML and Binnie complete Lola podium
RML had led the LMP2 class for much of the race with Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton positioning the team in to what appeared to be another LMP2 victory. However, a water leak became persistent in the latter stages of the race and forced several unscheduled pitstops, meaning that the Horag Racing Lola went unopposed to the chequered flag, with RML gaining valuable points for a title campaign in 2nd.
Binnie Motorsports scored another podium position despite losing some time in the pits in the early hours of the race. The Anglo/American squads new driver, Chris Buncombe did a solid job in his first prototype endurance race, backing up the performances of team owner Bill Binnie and regular driver Allen Timpany.
Despite a delayed pitstop midway through the race the saltaire bedecked Lola B05/43 Zytek stayed in the hunt throughout the race to complete the Lola 1-2-3.
Quifel ASM: Top gear from the rear
Quifel ASM Team had set a scorching pace during the Free Practice and Qualifying sessions and were consistently the fastest LMP2 car on the run up to the race. Sadly the team were penalised for its floor plank being under the15mm minimum. This came after Angel Burgueno had set pole position and a new LMP2 lap record of 1m39.271s. .
Starting from the back of the grid, Miguel Angel De Castro was flying in the first hour of the race and was soon in the class lead. Handing over to Miguel Amaral in the third hour saw the car fighting with the RML Lola at the front of the LMP2 class. Sadly, coming in to the Parabolica half way through his stint, Amaral felt a problem from the left rear corner and pitted immediately. Sadly, broken suspension accounted for the car and a probable victory was lost.
Charouz stun LMP1 rivals with pace
In LMP1, the Skoda Charouz Racing System Lola B07/17 Judd proved to be the sensation of the weekend as it consistently proved to be the only serious challenger to the new Peugeot diesel coupes.
Stefan Mucke qualified a brilliant 3rd overall despite having done very little mileage in the Lola LMP1 car. Along with his team mate, Jan Charouz, Mucke showed that the Lola LMP1 car is now the quickest of the available customer cars.
From the start, Mucke kept in contention with the Peugeots at the front and opened up a healthy gap to last seasons title winning Pescarolo Judd of Jean Christophe Boullion and Emmanuel Collard.
After the first rounds of pitstops Mucke started to have problems with his clutch and shortly after his first stop was spun off the road at the Rettifilio by Jean Marc Gounon in the works Courage. A further brush with the Pescarolo of Boullion was also endured before Mucke brought the Lola in to the pits for a lengthy stop.
However, despite the delay the team then fought back with Jan Charouz lapping quickly to gain a finish for the Czech team, who have formed a partnership with the British, Jota team this season. For the next race at Valencia the teams third driver, Alex Yoong, will also be on hand.
“I did three hours and I must say that it was quite a big fun,” said Charouz after the race. “I did not feel any problem like tiredness of either myself or the car. There was no chance to catch the front but I enjoyed my first real endurance race. First of all I was happy with the speed of the car. Nobody overtook me during my three hours and I was setting one of the best times. I can not wait Valencia.”
Unlucky Chamberlain denied 5th place
Chamberlain Synergy, also competing again this year in a Lola B06/10-AER LMP1 car were all set for a superb 5th place finish overall, until Gareth Evans left the road at the Parabolica and slightly damaged the rear of the car. Sadly for Gareth and the team, the marshals were unable to get the car back on to the track and their race was run.
Earlier in the race Bob Berridge had made good progress despite a small wastegate problem hampering his progress slightly. But the momentum was still with the Oxfordshire based team and Berridge handed over to Evans with the car in a solid 5th place overall. The bright yellow Lola was a model of consistency with the 2005 LMP2 champions and despite the non finish the team are confident that the extra speed from the 2007 Lola aerodynamic package will put them in contention for further good runs this season.
Coming soon: Lola B08/60 Coupe!
While Lola’s existing LMP1 and LMP2 cars are winning on the tracks of the world, engineers are busy back at Huntingdon building the first ever customer Coupe prototype. The all-new design is scheduled to start testing in October. The spectacular design has already been exhaustively tested with Lola’s significant new CFD upgrade which has been developed in conjunction with computer giant AMD.
The Coupe, to be known as the B08/60 is currently in Lola’s state-of-the-art 50% scale on-site windtunnel under going more testing and development before the build of the car begins in June. Lola will be issuing further information and images at Le Mans in June.
The next round of the Le Mans Series takes the field to Valencia in Spain for the very first time. Valencia will also see the much heralded Swiss Spirit Lola-Audi making its track debut. The car will test for the first time this Friday before making the trip to Spain where Jean-Denis Deletraz, Marcel Fassler and Iradj Alexander will drive.
The 1000kms begins at 12.00 on Sunday 6th May.
Pos Cl Driver Car Time
1. P1 Gene/Minassian Peugeot 908 4h 59:20.735
2. P1 Collard/Boullion Pescarolo Judd + 1 lap
3. P1 Lamy/Sarrazin Peugeot 908 + 2 laps
4. P1 Primat/Tinseau Pescarolo Judd + 3 laps
5. P1 Gounon/Moreau Courage LC70 AER + 5 laps
6. P2 Lienhard/Theys/Van De Poele Lola B05/40 Judd + 8 laps
7. P1 Barbosa/Keen/Hall Pescarolo Judd + 10 laps
8. P2 Erdos/Newton MG Lola EX264 AER + 12 laps
9. GT1 Alphand/Policand/Goueslard Corvette C6.R + 13 laps
10. GT1 Bouchut/Gardel/Gollin Aston Martin DBR9 + 14 laps
11. GT1 Blanchemain/Dumez/Vosse Corvette C5-R + 14 laps
12. GT1 Garcia/Halliday Aston Martin DBR9 + 15 laps
13. GT1 Perazzini/Cioci/Tavano Saeleen S7-R + 18 laps
14. GT2 De Simone/Hernandez/Bonetti Ferrari F430 GT + 19 laps
15. GT2 Caffi/Zardo Ferrari F430 GT + 19 laps
16. GT2 Bell/Simonsen Ferrari F430 GT + 19 laps
17. GT2 Kimber-Smith/Watts Panoz Esperante + 20 laps
18. GT2 Drudi/Rosa/Mowlem Ferrari F430 GT + 21 laps
19. GT2 Narac/Lietz Porsche 997 GT3 + 21 laps
20. GT2 Belicchi/Chiesa/Kane Spyker C8 Spyder + 22 laps
21. GT2 Lieb/Pompidou Porsche 997 GT3 + 22 laps
22. P1 Frei/Cochet Courage LC70 AER + 23 laps
23. P2 Binnie/Timpany/Buncombe Lola B05/40 Zytek + 23 laps
24. GT2 Hesnault/Smith/Beltoise Porsche 997 GT3 + 24 laps
25. P1 Lammers/Hart/Bleekemolen Dome S101.5 Judd + 27 laps
26. GT2 Werner/Ehret/Nielsen Porsche 997 GT3 + 29 laps
27. P2 Nicolet/Filhol/Jouanny Courage LC75 AER + 30 laps
28. GT2 Felbermayr/Ried/Collin Porsche 996 GT3 + 30 laps
29. P2 Burgess/De Pourtales/Siedler Pescarolo Judd + 34 laps
30. P1 Charouz/Mucke Lola B07/17 Judd + 35 laps
31. GT2 Hartshorne/Mcinermey/Mcinerney Panoz Esperante + 39 laps
32. GT2 Basso/Mccormick/Daoudi Ferrari F430 GT + 40 laps
33. P2 Rostan/Bruneau/Pullan Pilbeam MP93 Judd + 48 laps
GT2 Kox/Janis Spyker C8 Spyder 125 laps
P1 Evans/Berridge/Owen Lola B06/10 AER 123 laps
GT2 Ried/Felbermayr/Gruber Porsche 997 GT3 94 laps
P2 Amaral/De Castro/Burgeno Lola B05/40 AER 90 laps
P1 Lavaggi/Puglisi Lavaggi LS01 Ford 57 laps
GT1 Ortelli/Ayari Saleen S7-R 52 laps
P2 Hughes/Cunningham Radical SR9 Judd 49 laps
GT2 Daniels/Cox/Camatias Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 45 laps
GT2 Lasserre/Dean Panoz Esperante GTLM 38 laps
GT2 Thiim/Thyrring/Sorensen Corvette C6 Z06 29 laps
GT2 Lambert/Lefort/Bouvy Ferrari F430 GT 25 laps
GT1 Fisken/Zacchia/Franchi Aston Martin DBR9 17 laps
P2 Greaves/Moseley Radical SR9 AER 3 laps
Lola Cars International Ltd
Glebe Road, St Peters Road,
Tel: +44 (0) 1480 359590
Fax: +44 (0) 1480 482970