|AD Group's race car - the Lola HDP Coupé|
The result in Hungary ensures that the RML AD Group team remains securely placed at the top of the LMP(Le Mans Prototype) 2 Class going into the final endurance race at Silverstone next month.
Round 4 of the 2010 Le Mans Series was a remarkable race as it was totally dominated by the LMP2 category - the second prototype class - which occupied an unprecedented top six positions. It might have been even better for AD Group CEO Mike Newton and the RML AD Group team if a gear actuator issue had not cost the Number 25 Lola an extra six minutes in the garage - the difference between fourth and second.
The team had arrived in Hungary as Championship leaders following a victorious run in the Algarve, but knew that the tight, twisty and narrow Hungaroring circuit was going to provide a far greater challenge for the Lola HPD Coupé.
Three sessions of free practice suggested that the rival Strakka Racing HPD was going to be the dominant force in Hungary, not only in LMP2, but perhaps overall. Outright pole confirmed this, leaving RML AD Group team manager Phil Barker banking on strategy and race craft to regain a competitive edge.
The Le Mans Series allows AD Group to showcase the latest CCTV innovations to guests
Thomas Erdos, digging deep into his family's Hungarian roots, qualified fifth in a car that was set-up purely for the race. "We elected to run the hardest compound we could in qualifying, knowing we could be starting the race on those same tyres. This track is very abrasive, but we were confident we could still double-stint the Dunlops. It was a compromise on outright performance, but if there was a chance we could gain time in the pit stops, it was worth the gamble."
The plan worked, and the RML Lola was one of few cars in the race that consistently managed to get two stints out of each set, saving a minute on each pit stop. Erdos worked through to third before handing over to AD Group CEO Mike Newton with two hours gone, but it hadn't been easy. "We had an issue with the gear actuator," explained Erdos. During his second stint it grew progressively worse, and during the driver swap the engineers swiftly effected repairs, but lost the equivalent of five laps in the process.
Newton rejoined the race sixth in class, and completed a solid "stint and a half", including a splash'n'dash under the safety car, to be closing down on fifth before returning the Lola to Erdos. Instructed to "drive it like you stole it...but don't use any fuel!" Tommy then set some of the car's fastest laps as he demolished nearly three minutes out of the gap between the Lola and the two cars ahead. True to form, he had regained fourth in class (and was lying fifth overall) when time came to hand on to Ben Collins for the final run.
Like many drivers in the race, Ben was suffering the effects of dehydration in the later stages of his stint. Even so, he still managed to consolidate the position and establish a healthy time advantage that safeguarded fourth place and assured a valuable haul of championship points. All three drivers ran cleanly, without incident or contact, from start to finish.
"This was a very tough race," admitted AD Group CEO Mike Newton, "but fourth means we still lead the Championship going into the final race at Silverstone next month. Although a finish alone might be sufficient to clinch it, we will still be looking for a podium in our home race, but it's never a done deal until the chequered flag."
|The RML Lola was one of few cars in the race that consistently managed to get two stints out of each set|
Beyond the on-the-track action, the five-round Le Mans Series provides an invaluable opportunity for AD Group to showcase the latest CCTV innovations to guests, whether that be Dedicated Micros' award-winning Closed IPTV system or AD Network Video - the enterprise video arm for the Group, and to offer customers hands-on experience of the products in a comprehensively equipped demo vehicle.
AD Group's CCTV technology is also playing a vital role in the Number 25 Lola HPD race car through a motor sport variant of the award-winning TransVu DVR (Digital Video Recorder) - the RML X-PRO Recorder. This is able to deliver dramatic in-car images linked to all-important telemetry data, to assist the drivers in improving their performance. Product demonstration footage from previous races can be found on AD Group's YouTube Channel.
For more information on AD Group please visit the company website. To keep up-to-date with the RML AD Group team's campaign to secure the Le Mans Series LMP2 title log on to this link.
The final round of the 2010 Le Mans Series takes place at Silverstone over the weekend of September 11/12.