Munich/Concord. JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) drove the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR to victory in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Charlotte. Their teammates Bill Auberlen (USA) and Jean- Marc Gounon (F) finished fourth in the No. 43 BMW.
Munich/Concord. JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) drove the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR to victory in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Charlotte. Their teammates Bill Auberlen (USA) and Jean- Marc Gounon (F) finished fourth in the No. 43 BMW. Lehto and Gounon started the two-hour 45-minute race, and moved up to second and fourth, respectively, in the first hour. Muller replaced Lehto in the No. 42 and took the race lead during the second hour. Gounon stayed for a second stint in the No. 43, and encountered problems after contact on a restart. The car's nose was replaced during a pitstop when Auberlen took over after 90 minutes. He raced as high as second, but had to settle for fourth.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "I very happy with the outcome of the race, especially the car 42. When we came here, you could see there was quite a tough competition with the Panoz, the Audi and the Lola with the Judd engine. What actually took place was a race between the top teams in sports-car racing. The fact that we had quite some yellow flags during the race made it a very thrilling race. You could not afford the slightest mistake or you would be out of contention."
JJ Lehto #42: "I only did 37 laps. We had a plan to put me out again in the end, but there was no opportunity. Jorg was doing a good job, he was very strong. There were no problems, so let Jorg run the race. I was just watching, getting nervous!"
Jorg Muller #42: "I've done Le Mans, which is a little bit longer and a little bit tougher. One of the keys was that JJ qualified on pole, which was very important to get away a little bit. The other key was the strategy by Team Schnitzer which always took us into the pits at the right time. We had a bullet-proof car and it was just a good weekend. We have the best team you could wish for."
Jean-Marc Gounon #43: "This is good because BMW has won here. After Sebring we had to show that we could be very competitive. I was very patient at the beginning of the race, then I was prepared to go for it, to go to the front. I had a fantastic car. I'm disappointed we're not on the podium, because on the performance of the 43, I thought we might be."
Bill Auberlen #43: "The setup wasn't quite where I wanted it. Jean- Marc did a great job. At the end, I didn't have much to fight with, so I just did the best I could to maintain the position we were in and help Jorg as much as we could.