Atlanta/Munich. The BMW V12 LMR sports cars maintained their fourth and sixth grid positions in second qualifying for the ninth round of the American Le Mans Series, the 1000-mile, 10-hour Petit Le Mans event. Bill Auberlen (USA) bettered his first qualifying session lap time by a tenth of a second in the BMW V12 LMR that he shares with Jean-Marc Gounon (F), but will still line up behind championship leader Jorg Muller (D) and JJ Lehto, the Finn who drove both sessions.
The outside air temperature was 23 degrees centigrade, the track measured at 42 degrees centigrade on both qualifying days.
BMW Motorsport Team Manager Charly Lamm: "So far we are happy with our grid positions. All in all we are a bit closer to the top than we have been in recent races and that's very positive. Bill nearly caught the second Panoz and just missed fifth position on the grid by a few hundredths of a second."
JJ Lehto, #42: "We changed a few things since the first qualifying session yesterday in order to improve the car, but it was without success. We will go back to the set-up we had."
Jörg Müller, #42: "The asphalt here seems to have a quite high grip level, which is good for us. I am really looking forward to the race, especially because of the long duration. The longer the distance is, the more opportunities we have to compensate the disadvantage of our year-old car with tactics and strategies."
Bill Auberlen, #43: "I went a little bit faster today even though the session itself did not seem to offer better opportunities compared to yesterday. I found the car to be a bit sensitive with the wind."
Jean-Marc Gounon, #43: "I was only driving this morning and did not find a clear lap, so I can't say much apart from the fact that the low track temperature did not seem to fit with our set-up. I think we are well prepared for the race, though."
<pre> Combined Qualifying Result: 1. Capello/McNish/Alboreto Audi 1 minute 10.379 seconds 2. Biela/Pirro/Kristensen Audi 1 minute 10.713 seconds 3. Brabham/Magnussen Panoz 1 minute 10.875 seconds 4. Lehto/Muller BMW 1 minute 11.438 seconds 5. O'Connell/Katoh/Graf Panoz 1 minute 12.060 seconds 6. Auberlen/Gounon BMW 1 minute 12.107 seconds