All four Lola B05/40 LMP2's managed to survive a gruelling 1000km of Silverstone last weekend, contending with appalling conditions and multiple safety car periods to score more useful points in the 2005 Le Mans Endurance Series LMP2 standings.

With driving rain and poor visibility on the Grand Prix circuit, the new LMP2 design was by far the fastest LMP2 car on the track and the RML car was running in an incredible second place overall in the early stages.

Brazilian racer Tommy Erdos had claimed a convincing pole position and drove a superb opening to the race but midway through the third hour, the red and white car was forced pitwards and lost the LMP2 lead due to electrical problems caused by the massive amount of water on the track.

At this stage Erdos handed over to team-mate Mike Newton who drove his usual solid stint, coping brilliantly with an intermittent misfire before handing back over to Erdos for the final hour. By this stage the team was back in contention for a podium position and hunting down fellow Lola runners, Horag Lista.

With just 15 minutes remaining Erdos caught Didier Theys and took the final podium position, with the six points meaning that RML consolidate their third position in the LMP2 points standings.

"We seem to be ending up as the bridesmaids in the LMES this year," Newton said after the race. "We had great pace throughout the weekend but unfortunately we got some water in the electrics, which caused a variety of problems. Tommy drove brilliantly in difficult conditions and we were looking very good in the early running. On the whole the team did fantastically well to get us back out and back in contention for some points."

Just missing out on a podium position disappointed the Horag Lista team who were competing in just their second race with the Judd powered Lola B05/40. The Lista backed squad lay in second place and were sixth overall at one stage towards the end of the race but had to relinquish third to Erdos.

"I had a huge problem with my visor misting up," Leinhard said, "but I guess that was happening to a lot of people out there. We should maybe have had a podium here but it was not to be. The car was capable and the team were too, but we know the Nurburgring better so we are very much looking forward to that weekend."

Chamberlain Synergy arrived at Silverstone as LMP2 leaders but they fell back to second place by just a point, after a fifth place class finish.

Bob Berridge started the race and made good progress through the field, despite, like many on the streaming track, a spin for the Lola. With Peter Owen unable to take part in the meeting due to a back injury, Gareth Evans took over after a mammoth quadruple stint by Berridge in the AER turbo powered car. A clean run to the finish netted the team the four points on offer for fifth place in class.

In addition to the latest sportscar model from Lola racing at the weekend, the ex DAMS B98/10 was also out in the hands of Chamberlain Synergy. An all women crew of Amanda Stretton and Balba Camino started from 22nd on the grid with the Spaniard starting her first race at Silverstone in the terrible conditions. Steady progress saw the Judd engined LMP1 car climb the field before Stretton spun in to the pit-wall, bringing out another Safety Car.

"Although we managed to repair the initial damage and get Balba out in the car again, the driveshaft broke and that was the end of the race for us," a disappointed Stretton said.

Binnie Motorsports had their most competitive race to date at Silverstone, lining up a fantastic second on the LMP2 grid after reigning LMP2 champion driver, Sam Hancock powered the Pirelli shod B05/40 to a very creditable tenth overall on the grid.

Hancock stayed out of trouble for the first two hours and drove faultlessly to be eighth overall at one stage and second, behind Erdos in the LMP2 class. But trouble struck just at the end of the first hour when Hancock was stranded on the circuit when his electrics cut out, probably as a consequence of the soaking conditions.

The Nicholson McLaren powered Lola eventually made it back to the pits where it was tended to by the American/British team, before re-joining after losing four laps. A spirited recovery drive followed with Hancock racing back to fifth in class before the conditions caught the Londoner out, as they had so many of the fifty-car grid.

"Coming through Woodcote the car just acquaplaned straight off," the 25-year-old said. "I nearly caught it but it went round and I brushed the barrier with the rear wing. To say it was a hairy moment is something of an understatement and to rub salt in to the wound, I ended up straddling an access road which beached the car. Overall though there were plenty of positives to take from this race for the team and myself."

After coming in for a new rear wing, team principal Bill Binnie took over before Allen Timpany completed the race although the car was not classified with a finishing position.

 

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