Lime Rock: BMW Team PTG race report

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish Third and Fourth in GT2 at Lime Rock Park Lakeville, Conn. - July 1, 2006-- Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 finished third in today's New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park . The duo ...

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish Third and Fourth in GT2 at Lime Rock Park

Lakeville, Conn. - July 1, 2006-- Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 finished third in today's New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park . The duo completed 160 laps around the 1.54-mile circuit in the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute contest. Continuing the momentum of a fourth and fifth place team finish in Round 3 at Mid-Ohio, BMW Team PTG teammates Justin Marks and Bryan Sellers, driving the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 finished fourth, completing 158 laps, to again deliver a season's best performance for BMW's M3 racing program.

Joey Hand drove the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 from his second starting position into the GT2 class lead at the green flag. Farther back in the field, Justin Marks, driving the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 held the ninth position.

Thirty minutes into the race Hand fell back to third just before the race's first caution period. The restart was short-lived as a second yellow flag waved within minutes. The team elected to pit Marks for fuel during the caution to shorten the one scheduled pit stop of the race. With the race back underway on lap 46, Hand regained second while Marks moved up to seventh. At the one hour mark Hand and Marks were holding second and fifth in the GT2 class, moving to eighth and 13th overall in the race. On lap 100 Hand pitted the No. 21 M3 and Bill Auberlen rejoined the race with a full tank of fuel and new Yokohamas. Marks pitted the No. 22 M3 one lap later and Bryan Sellers took the wheel. With 45 minutes remaining in the race Auberlen held third with Sellers fifth.

Sellers moved to fourth on lap 147 to finish a season's best fourth. Clutch problems began to slow Auberlen's charge on second place, but the BMW ace was able to deliver BMW Team PTG's first podium finish of the year.

Round 5 of the American Le Mans Series will be held on July 14 - 15 at the new Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (3rd): "Hard work by both BMW Team PTG and new Yokohama tires made our return to the podium possible. Unfortunately, the vibration I felt in the beginning of my stint turned out to be a clutch problem and that did not allow me to race for second."

JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (3rd): "We were racy today and it felt great to lead for the first time this year. Everyone - PTG and Yokohama - has really stepped up. This podium finish is a great moral booster for everyone."

JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (4th): "I certainly did not expect to have to go as long as we did in my stint, but the M3 was quite consistent throughout. We obviously planned to have only one stop, but added that quick stop for fuel early. Bryan did a great job at the end to move up another position."

BRYAN SELLERS, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (4th): "I had a clean track and got by the Panoz under braking for fourth. Considering our starting position (ninth) I am pleased to finish fourth although I know Justin and I would have liked to place higher."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "We have kept our record of excellent finishes at Lime Rock intact. We are making progress and have demonstrated it in the last two races. We will continue to work hard with our partners Yokohama and Performance Friction and keep moving up."

LARRY KOCH, M BRAND AND MOTORSPORT MANAGER, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC: "The weekend started with our best starting position (second) of the season and ended with our first podium finish (third) of the season. A fourth as well with the second M3 means we are heading in the right direction after a difficult start to the year."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Justin Marks , Bryan Sellers