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RML hampered by engine woes

The RML team was left to rue a third engine failure of the season at Le Mans as the team's assault on the La Sarthe classic ended in disappointment.

Aside for a brief glitch in the early hours of Sunday morning to replace a set of plugs, the Lola Mazda Coupe had run without any problems in the hands of Mike Newton, Tommy Erdos and Chris Dyson, but engine failure at the 18 hour mark put the car out of the race.

"Everything was going so well, and the engine was pulling strongly and felt very good," Erdos said. "We'd been able to run at a competitive pace throughout the race, and we were still in contention for a podium right up until the moment the engine let go.

"Until the lap before the engine let go, I was feeling really chuffed with the way the car was going. To be running so strongly at such a late stage in the 24 Hours is always a special feeling, and we were beginning to think we might make it."

The engine problem came following two engine failures in the Le Mans Series this season, although the exact nature of the fault won't be known until the unit has been dismantled and examined back at the RML base.

"It's terribly frustrating, when we'd been holding a strong fourth place, and closing on third," Newton said. "We knew that even the smallest problem for any of the cars ahead of us and we'd have been into a podium position, but as soon as I heard the noise from the engine, I knew it was all over.

"We also have to consider the team as a whole. The guys do a great job, and they put their heart and soul into every aspect of their work. It's an absolute passion on their part, and the engineers and mechanics behind the scenes are the ones who make all this possible. In situations like this, their disappointment is every bit as great as ours as drivers, and over the coming weeks we will be working closely with Mazda to seek a resolution to the problems at AER."

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