BMW Team RLL fought back from a day of bad luck to finish fifth and sixth in the GT class at the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Lime Rock Park (US). This result was the first time a BMW Team RLL car hasn’t been on the podium at the team’s home track, but a determined effort kept the squad in second place in the manufacturer points and very much in contention for a third consecutive GT class title. Victory was secured by the two Porsche drivers, Jörg Bergmeister (DE) and Patrick Long (US).
The two BMW M3 GT cars lined up at Lime Rock Park with a black ribbon attached to the right front fender of each car. This is in memory a BMW Motorsport engineer who died suddenly in Munich (DE) on Friday night. The thoughts of his BMW Motorsport colleagues are with his family during this difficult time.
Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) finished fifth in the no. 56 BMW M3 GT and now stand third in the driver points. Hand started the race from second and pitted under the race’s first caution period for left side tyres and fuel on the 21st lap of the race on the1.5-mile, 8-turn Lime Rock Park circuit. He returned to the race in sixth and continued until lap 62 when he handed over Dirk Müller after a left front tyre puncture brought him to the pits. Müller had to make an unplanned pit stop on lap 70 to remove the hood after its mounting loosened and blocked his view. One lap down, he stayed in the car for the remainder of the race, ultimately completing 159 laps and finishing fifth.
Bill Auberlen (US) qualified the no. 55 BMW M3 GT on pole for the GT class, but unfortunately the BMW ace had to start his 100th ALMS race from the pit lane after a fuel cell issue on the installation lap robbed him of his best starting position of the season. He did not wait long to make up time setting a new race record of 51.091 seconds on lap nine. He stayed out during the race’s first caution period to regain more track position. Pitting under the green flag on lap 61 he handed over to Jörg Müller (DE). The BMW Motorsport veteran was forced back to the pits 14 laps later with a left rear tyre puncture at the cost of one lap to the leaders. Müller remained in the car to the chequered flag, finishing sixth. Auberlen and Müller stand sixth in the driver points.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal):
“Today was one tough day. We had a puncture on the 56 car and a fuel leak and a puncture on the 55 car. It was a long, hard day for us, but we scored points. We will need to finish in front of the Corvettes from here on out and that is going to be tough.”
Dirk Müller (BMW M3 GT – No. 56):
“I desperately wanted to win this race again in front of Crowne Plaza and BMW crowd, but at the end, finishing fifth, we scored a lot of very good points for the championship. It was a tough day. Twice we fought back and that makes me proud.”
Joey Hand (BMW M3 GT – No. 56):
“That was a long two hours and 45 minutes. It always feels like that when it isn’t your day. A puncture to the left front tyre and the hood coming loose caused us to make two pit stops under green. Still we powered back for a fifth place finish and really didn't lose a lot of points to the class leaders. BMW Team RLL never gives up. Bob is always on the radio telling you to just keep pushing.”
Jörg Müller (BMW M3 GT – No. 55):
“The race didn't really come to us, but we never stopped trying. We were already one and one half laps behind when we started the race, but I'm happy with the points because normally when you start from that position you are not able to get much of anything.”
Bill Auberlen (BMW M3 GT – No. 55):
“We won practice. We won qualifying. Unfortunately, today was not our day although BMW Team RLL gave Jörg and me a car that was fast and capable of winning. I've seen days end worse than this. We can be proud to have taken a car that started one lap down to the field and finish sixth.”
Copyright 2000-2012 Jeff Seabrook - www.bmwsport.net Pageviews Today: 546