Munich/Portland. BMW works drivers JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) will start sixth in Sunday's American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway. Lehto qualified the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR on the 1.944-mile road course in one minute,...
Munich/Portland. BMW works drivers JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) will start sixth in Sunday's American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway. Lehto qualified the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR on the 1.944-mile road course in one minute, 5.582 seconds. Teammates Bill Auberlen (USA) and Jean-Marc Gounon (F) are eighth on the grid in the No. 43 BMW after Auberlen qualified in 1:05.940. BMW Team PTG driver Hans-J. Stuck (D) is not racing this weekend, while he recovers from an injury to the third vertebrae in his neck.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "The qualifying at Portland shows that the competition up front is very close. It was exciting qualifying because there were eight cars within a very small time interval. But what was not good for us is that we're only in sixth and eighth place. Both our BMW V12 LMRs lack overall grip, but we will try our best to better this for tomorrow's race."
JJ Lehto #42: "We did the same times that we did in the test here, we didn't do any better. Our car is so difficult to drive. You can get a couple of quality laps out of it, but it doesn't improve. First lap out, you think it will be just a qualifying warmup, but it doesn't improve. The car is not producing grip, it's only the tire that's giving us a certain amount for a little while. Tomorrow will be difficult."
Bill Auberlen #43: "We were quicker than the other team car in the last session, but we didn't feel that the setup would go the long range. It was just for one lap. So we decided to change the front suspension geometry, A-arms, roll center, springs, shock absorbers and ride heights. We did a reasonably good job, but we're struggling so hard against the other cars."
Auberlen and his fan partner won the Michelin tire-rolling competition in downtown Portland on Thursday.
"We lulled everybody else into a high sense of confidence and then proceeded to beat them all, one after the other. It was a good time," he said. "My teammate Dinah has been here [at the track]. We've been hanging out and it's been great."