Munich/Portland. BMW Motorsport will start second and fourth in the GT class for Sunday's round four of the American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway, after BMW M3 GTRs swept the top four GT qualifying positions, all with ...
Munich/Portland. BMW Motorsport will start second and fourth in the GT class for Sunday's round four of the American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway, after BMW M3 GTRs swept the top four GT qualifying positions, all with qualifying times faster than the previous track record. JJ Lehto (FIN) posted a time of one minute 13.331 seconds on the 1.944-mile road course in the No. 42 BMW M3 GTR. He and Jorg Muller (D) will start second on the nine-car GT grid. Fredrik Ekblom (S) and Dirk Muller (D) will start fourth after Ekblom qualified the No. 43 GTR in 1:13.454. The pair gave full credit to their crew for changing an engine in less than two hours after encountering an oil-pressure warning during the afternoon practice.
BMW Team PTG drivers Hans-J. Stuck (D) and Boris Said (USA) will start from the class pole position in the No. 6 BMW M3 GTR (1:13.291), and Bill Auberlen (USA) and Niclas Jonsson (S) will start third in the No. 6 GTR (1:13.407).
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "I think we saw a thrilling GT qualifying, with the top six cars separated by just nine-tenths of a second and four BMWs within two-tenths of a second. JJ in BMW 42 came close to pole position, and tonight we'll try to set up the car more to their liking. I'm happy that BMW 43 could come out and qualify at all after we had to change an engine in a short period of time. Fredrik's performance was good considering we lost valuable track time earlier."
JJ Lehto #42: "The car balance is still off what I would like to have. With a full tank, the car is better, but it's still difficult to drive. But we will see. It's a long race, very hard on tires and equipment, so everything is open."
Jorg Muller #42: "We didn't really concentrate on qualifying -- we concentrated a little bit more on the race setup. I like that BMW has the pole position with Boris [Said]. We'll see tomorrow, but I think the race result will be different than qualifying."
Fredrik Ekblom #43: "I have to applaud my mechanics for getting us on the track. It was unbelievable. I think we lost some advantage because we missed half of the last practice. Our time is very close to the pole, which is still pretty good considering the circumstances. But you're not really happy until you're on the pole. Our mechanics deserved that [pole position] today."
Dirk Muller #43: "I'm really happy that we made qualifying. It was really tough for the guys to prepare the car for qualifying. They changed the engine and it was really, really perfect. Pole position was catchable. Fredrik did a good job, but it was just traffic."