Munich/Atlanta. The BMW V12 Le Mans Roadster no. 43 of Bill Auberlen (USA), Steve Soper (GB) and Joachim Winkelhock (D) brought home the best result for BMW by finishing second at the 1.000 miles race "Petit Le Mans" in Road Atlanta. The win went to the Panoz drivers David Brabham (GB), Eric Bernard (F) and Andy Wallace (GB). Until just five laps before the chequered flag dropped the BMW V12 LMR no. 42 of JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jörg Müller (D) had been in the lead for most of the distance, but Müller spun off the track, got stuck in the gravel and finally came third.
In the GT class BMW also celebrated second place, achieved by works driver Hans-Joachim Stuck and Boris Said at the wheel of a BMW Team PTG's M3.
BMW Team Manager Charly Lamm: "The race was a thriller, in which we had to overcome a lot of difficult situations. We had the power to win today - due to two excellent BMW cars and a strong driver team. The race of our car #42 was a real nightmare: after one hour we had no more radio contact and later lost telemetry. This made serious strategy work impossible. Still, our drivers fought back into the lead until Jörg spun off. About car #43 I have to say that all three drivers showed enthusiastic performance by making no mistakes. They closed up after they had lost a lot of time during an early pit stop."
Bill Auberlen #43: "I pushed like hell and I want to thank my team mates for doing a perfect job. Also the team's strategy with changing all four tires every second stop and only the left rubber in between, paid off."
Steve Soper #43: "I am happy with our performance and that we achieved a good result. I drove our car for most of the time, I started and finished the race. All of us stayed for double stints in the car, it was a very hard and demanding race on cars and drivers."
Joachim Winkelhock #43: "With 50 cars on a four kilometre long track the traffic was the biggest challenge. I had a few moments when I could have crashed easily."
JJ Lehto #42: "It was a great race on a challenging circuit which we could have won by one lap or more. But today we weren't lucky."
Jörg Müller #42: "The car ran like a Swiss clockwork until I made this mistake. I cannot say how sorry I feel."
Hans-Joachim Stuck #6 BMW M3: "This result is a very nice late wedding present. We had a brilliant car and a very good race day."