BMW double podium at Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Oct. 29, 2000) -- BMW scored podium finishes in two classes of the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Las Vegas. The two-hour 45-minute sprint on the 2.25-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway road course was the final race...

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Oct. 29, 2000) -- BMW scored podium finishes in two classes of the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Las Vegas. The two-hour 45-minute sprint on the 2.25-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway road course was the final race of the season in North America. The series schedule ends with the Race of 1000 Years in Adelaide, Australia, on Dec. 31. Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Jean-Marc Gounon of France finished third after a strong performance in the No. 43 BMW V12 LMR. Their teammates JJ Lehto of Finland and Jorg Muller of Germany, driving the No. 42 BMW, took the race lead after the halfway mark, but then were involved in a multiple-car incident that required lengthy repairs. They finished eighth in the prototype class. BMW Team PTG also scored a podium finish for team sponsors Flextronics International, Level One and Yokohama. Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., and Hans Stuck of Austria were third in the GT class in the No. 7 BMW M3. Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Nic Jonsson of Aliso Viejo, Calif., were fourth in the No. 10 M3 and Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., finished 10th in the No. 6 M3 after pitting for repairs after contact with another car. "It's been a challenging year but a good year for the development of the new BMW M3," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "Taking third and fourth on a fast, long track like this is good. All the cars were reliable and I give full credit to the drivers. One more race until the end of the year and then we'll work over the winter for next season. And credit to the BMW Motorsport team, too, who put up a strong fight. It's good for BMW to be on the podium twice." Said started the No. 7 BMW M3 fifth and moved to third before handing over to Stuck after 95 minutes of the race. Stuck quickly moved to second place, but finished third after serving a penalty for passing during a caution period. "I'm very thankful for third place. I overtook a car under yellow, which was totally my fault, but that happens," Stuck admitted. "Then when I passed another car, I flat-spotted my front tires and it's a miracle they survived to the end. Big compliment to Yokohama they gave us such a great tire." "It was a good day," Said noted. "We were under- horsepowered, but we had a smart race and good pit stops and the car handled great. We'll take third today." Brian Cunningham started the No. 10 M3 eighth and moved to sixth during his 95-minute stint. Jonsson took the wheel and moved up to finish fourth. "We had a wonderful race car today," Jonsson said. "It was consistent from the first lap to the last lap. We were the fastest of the BMW M3s and I was happy to have the fastest lap of the BMW guys. It's a shame we never get a break with the wave-bys [positioning of the pace car during caution periods], so we were a lap behind. It would have been more fun if we had the chance to run for the position. I just tried to keep the car in fourth place and not make any mistakes." Peter Cunningham was driving the No. 6 M3 when he was hit by another car 15 minutes into the race. After a long pit stop to replace a bent tie rod, van Overbeek drove for an hour. Peter Cunningham drove the final 70-minute stint and finished 10th. The final race in the 2000 American Le Mans Series will be the Race of 1000 Years in Adelaide, Australia, on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31.

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Series ALMS