BMW Team PTG wins GT in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 5, 2001) -- BMW Team PTG drivers Hans Stuck and Boris Said won the GT class of the fourth round of the 2001 American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Portland today, completing 121 laps around the 1.944-mile Portland...

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 5, 2001) -- BMW Team PTG drivers Hans Stuck and Boris Said won the GT class of the fourth round of the 2001 American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Portland today, completing 121 laps around the 1.944-mile Portland International Raceway.

Starting from the pole with a record-setting 1:13.291-second qualifying time the duo ran a smart race from start to finish. Said set a new race record of 1:14.392 on lap 67. The win was Team PTG's first of the 2001 season, and the 34th since the team entered GT competition in 1995. PTG's last win was at Laguna Seca Raceway in October, 2000.

The No. 42 BMW Motorsport M3 GTR of JJ Lehto and Jörg Müller finished third and the No. 43 BMW Motorsport M3 GTR of Fredrik Ekblom and Dirk Müller was fourth.

Niclas Jönsson made the most of the start and jumped into the lead from his third starting position and held the GT class point until a collision at the half-hour mark brought him into the pits to check and replace a damaged right-rear wheel. Hans Stuck ran a conservative pace in the No. 6 GTR until pitting at the 1.5-hour mark from his fifth-place position.

At the one hour mark Bill Auberlen had the No. 10 back to third behind the No. 23 Porsche and No. 43 M3 GTR. A flat tire brought him into the pits and the PTG crew got Jönsson quickly only to have to return for a stop-and-go penalty. Forty minutes later the No. 10 GTR was side-lined with a gearbox failure and the No. 6 GTR was in second - within 21 seconds of the leading No. 43 BMW Motorsport M3 GTR.

The resulting caution period to remove the No. 10 GTR from the track closed up the field and the No. 22 Porsche and Nos. 42 and 43 GTRs pitted for tires while the No. 6 of Said stayed out to take the lead and the win.

Boris Said, driver No. 6 PTG M3 GTR "You need four things to win a race - a great car, a great team, great tires and good drivers. We had all of them today and came out on top. Today we stuck to our plan of pacing the tires and the pace I ran at the beginning of my stint was the pace I ran at the end and that made the difference. The Yokohamas were great today and that helped us win the race. Hans did a great job in keeping the M3 perfect."

Hans Stuck, driver No. 6 PTG BMW M3 GTR "Everything was fine. I got totally knocked off at the start after a Viper hit me. I didn't lose much and kept it steady. I was very conservative with my tires - the fuel consumption was good. I made one mistake on the back part of the circuit during my stint. I lost it and went off through the grass, but nothing happened."

"I am more happy for Tom Milner and the guys than for myself - I know how much they wanted this win. We have tried everything to win this year."

"The race was very interesting. We had to fight with the Porsches. They were fast down the straight which we expected, but the BMWs are a little bit better under braking and our tires are better. It was a tough fight. I think we are pretty equal. I am looking forward to some more good races."

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 10 PTG M3 GTR "The GTR was flawless. I was biding my time and watching the fuel meter. As time went on I picked off Lehto, I got by Stuck, the Porsche and was catching Ekblom. I was going to wait until there was about four gallons left in the fuel load and use up the rest of my tires to go for the lead. A flat tire pulled me in and after I got out of the car I don't know what happened."

Niclas Jönsson, driver No. 10 PTG M3 GTR "I had a good start and passed both the No. 42 and No. 6 cars. I stayed on my pace to conserve my tires and the car. Unfortunately after about one-half hour I was hit in the right rear as I was lapping one of the Porsches exiting the Festival Curves. The hit was hard enough to crack the wheel and force me into the pits. About five laps into my second stint I lost third gear and with about twenty minutes to go I lost all the gears and our day was over."

Tom Milner, owner Prototype Technology Group "Our race strategy was a good one and we got lucky. Under the first yellow I made the call to bring Nic in and although we did not know it at the time there was a broken right rear wheel. Bill got back out and leaving Hans out left both PTG cars in good positions. And usually when we come in the others follow us and they did again this time and that moved Hans up. Hans did an excellent job maintaining the position. When we pitted the No. 6 again we had stayed out long enough to have enough fuel to run with full power to the end of the race. I had a little argument with Boris about what tires he wanted and he got his wish. This was a great victory for PTG and a long time in coming. I think there is no doubt about PTG now."

Tom Salkowsky, Motorsport Manager, BMW of North America, LLC "Another great race for BMW and a fantastic day for Team PTG. An incredible effort - with the No. 6 M3 GTR on the pole, the fastest race lap and the win. Boris and Hans were outstanding in the execution of their race strategy. Pitstops under 20 seconds reflect the effort of the entire PTG crew. Hopefully the last few races are indicative of the success we can continue to expect from the M3 GTR. This victory moves BMW to first in the manufacturers championship. Tonight we will celebrate and tomorrow we get ready for Mosport."

-PTG-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Boris Said , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , JJ Lehto