Petit Le Mans BMW qualifying

Munich/Braselton. BMW Motorsport will start first and second in the GT class for Saturday's Petit Le Mans, final race of the 2001 American Le Mans Series. JJ Lehto (FIN) posted a record pole time of one minute 22.604 seconds on the 2.54-mile...

Munich/Braselton. BMW Motorsport will start first and second in the GT class for Saturday's Petit Le Mans, final race of the 2001 American Le Mans Series. JJ Lehto (FIN) posted a record pole time of one minute 22.604 seconds on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course in the No. 42 BMW M3 GTR. The pole position was especially rewarding to the crew, who rebuilt the car overnight, after it was hit by another car during Thursday night practice. Lehto will co-drive with Fredrik Ekblom (S) and Karl Wendlinger (A). Jörg Müller (D) and Dirk Müller (D) will start second after Dirk Müller qualified the No. 43 GTR in 1:22.681. Both cars finished on racing slicks after starting the qualifying session on rain tires.

BMW Team PTG drivers Hans-J. Stuck (D), Boris Said (USA) and Bill Auberlen (USA) will start third in the No. 6 BMW M3 GTR (1:23.617), and Niclas Jönsson (S), Brian Cunningham (USA) and David Murry (USA) will start fifth in the No. 10 GTR (1:24.041).

BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "We have been first and second on the grid before, but this qualifying was special. After yesterday's accident, the guys did a fantastic job to repair BMW 42. They got it out just in time for the qualifying. The wet conditions made it difficult to be aggressive, but that is what JJ was after he decided to change to slicks early. Seeing him charging through turn 12 that way was very special. Dirk's second-place, just eight-hundredths behind JJ, makes the perfect qualifying result for BMW Motorsport."

JJ Lehto #42: "The upsetting things that happened last night really destroyed the car in a big way. I thought the crew couldn't build it up again, but they said it would be okay in the morning. They worked really hard and the car was ready just five minutes before the qualifying. I went out for an installation lap and everything felt quite good, so I just went for it. The weather was very difficult; it was raining in the beginning, then it started to dry out. We had to make the decision to come in at the right time to get the slick tires and get them heated. I only had one clear lap, so it was really difficult with traffic. But in the end we're on pole and it's brilliant!"

Fredrik Ekblom #43: "The team did an exceptional job, and likewise JJ. He was the man today and the team was just awesome. I think we have a good setup with the car and it looks really good. I'm comfortable and I'm enjoying the weekend."

Karl Wendlinger #42: "JJ did a very good job because the car was ready just before qualifying, after the crash yesterday. He kept his nerve and he was the fastest one when he needed to be the fastest one. It was great!"

Jörg Müller #43: "It's good for BMW Motorsport, one and two. But to be true, that means nothing in the race. It's important to not have any contact and keep the car on the road, that's the key thing in the race. I'm very happy with the qualifying, especially with JJ and his guys. They had a hard night and they really deserve to be on pole position."

Dirk Müller #43: "Second is not first, but it's first and second for the team. Congratulations to JJ and the crew! I had really, really bad luck. Each lap I did, there was some traffic, but there was nothing to do. You can't really wait because no one knew if it would start raining again, so we had to go for the opportunity. The car was so brilliant I could have done the pole for sure."

-BMW-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Dirk Müller , Boris Said , Karl Wendlinger , David Murry , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Brian Cunningham , Charly Lamm , JJ Lehto