Lime Rock: BMW Rahal Letterman Racing race report

BMW RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TEAM MAINTAINS BMW M3 PODIUM STREAK AT LIME ROCK PARK Lakeville, Conn. -- July 18, 2009... Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand raced their No. 90 BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3 to a third place GT2 class finish in today's...

BMW RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING TEAM MAINTAINS BMW M3 PODIUM STREAK AT LIME ROCK PARK

Lakeville, Conn. -- July 18, 2009... Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand raced their No. 90 BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3 to a third place GT2 class finish in today's American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.

The duo completed 166 laps around the Lime Rock circuit to record their first podium and best result of the season. The team has now scored three podiums in the first five races of their inaugural season to keep BMW of North America's perfect record of always finishing on the podium in a race at Lime Rock Park.

The No. 92 M3 of Tommy Milner and Dirk Muller finished 10th in class after running as high as third.

Lime Rock fans got exactly what they came for. As the green flag waved, Bill Auberlen moved the No. 90 M3 immediately to third from his fourth place starting spot. Tommy Milner, in the No. 92 M3, moved from fifth to fourth, and then later was able to glue himself to the rear of the second place competitor for the duration of his stint.

The race's only caution flag flew on lap 61 just before the one hour mark and both M3s pitted six laps later. The crew of the No. 90 M3 executed a brilliant stop to send Joey Hand back into the race in second. Dirk Muller hopped into the No. 92 M3 and rejoined the race in fourth place.

Hand and Muller raced hard, but a spin by Hand dropped the No. 90 to fourth, promoting Muller to third. On lap 109 Muller was sidelined for repairs and Hand regained third.

Hand needed fuel in the closing stages of the race, and another quick stop by the team kept him in front of the fourth place competitor by some 14 seconds at the checkered flag.

Bobby Rahal, Team Principal: "Today was an eventful day. The No. 92 car was having quite a race. They got hurt on the first yellow because we had gotten lapped by the overall leader and the GT2 class leader had not, losing us an entire lap. Joey and Bill did a great job."

Martin Birkmann, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager: "There is still a gap to the GT2 front runners, but it's getting smaller and smaller. We will continue to whittle it away. We promised to give our fans a good show and I think for the majority of the race we did exactly that. The team worked very hard to give us our 10th podium in as many times BMW of North America has raced at Lime Rock. I think everyone can feel extremely proud of our result today."

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 90 BMW M3: "It was a dogfight today, but Scott (Roembke) called a perfect race. His strategy was flawless. I came into the pits in fourth and Joey went out in second. He dropped back a little and made it up with a great race and here we are on the podium. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard today. Hopefully you'll see us up on the podium a lot more soon."

Joey Hand, driver No. 90 BMW M3: "As I had hoped, today we were as strong as we have ever been. We fought some adversity but kept the M3 in good position. The crew helped us get two positions in one pit stop! Outrageous! At one point, I ended up somewhere way out in the grass where I shouldn't have been, but somehow got the car back on track. I didn't want to let this team down. Today was a great day for us."

Round 6 of the American Le Mans Series will be held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 8th.

-credit: bmw/rlr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Dirk Müller , Bobby Rahal , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Tommy Milner