Munich/Sonoma. BMW works drivers JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) qualified fifth on the provisional grid for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma. Lehto qualified the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR on the 2.52-mile Sears Point Raceway...
Munich/Sonoma. BMW works drivers JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) qualified fifth on the provisional grid for Sunday's American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Sonoma. Lehto qualified the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR on the 2.52-mile Sears Point Raceway road course in one minute, 23.690 seconds. Teammates Bill Auberlen (USA) and Jean- Marc Gounon (F) are seventh on the provisional grid in the No. 43 BMW after Auberlen qualified in 1:24.156. BMW Team PTG driver Boris Said (USA), who drives with Hans-Joachim Stuck (D), qualified second in the GT class, but his time was disallowed because of a problem with an airbox leak.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "We're not happy with our performance today. Since this morning, our drivers reported a poor level of grip on both our BMW V12 LMRs and as the first qualifying showed, we were not able to cure this problem. For tomorrow, we have to focus on finding more grip and to improve our cars."
JJ Lehto #42: "I'm really disappointed that we come back to the circuit where we were on pole last year and today our car was only good for fifth place. I'm a little bit confused at the moment. Last year, we came straight out of Le Mans and the car was really not bad. This year, we have no grip, we're bouncing all over the place. We have a lot of work to catch up."
Jorg Muller #42: "I think our car is a bit too fast for this circuit, but we have to drive. We're seventh on the grid, but as we know, we're always better in the race than we are in qualifying. It's not that bad, so I look forward to the race on Sunday."
Bill Auberlen #43: "We worked awfully hard to not be up front. We have a lot of work that we have to do on the car. The balance is neutral and everything seems to be okay, but we just lack the speed, the ultimate grip is not there. Our hardest challenge is to pinpoint exactly what our problems are. There are a lot of little subtle problems that we have to address and then we can move up.."
Jean-Marc Gounon #43: "The track is very nice. When you are alone on the track, it is a wonderful track, up hill, down hill, I love it! The problem is in the race, the track is narrow and it will be difficult to overtake. It is possible to overtake the smaller cars, but to overtake the cars running the same speed is almost impossible."
Hans-Joachim Stuck, #7, GT class: "A new car, new luck. I think our new car is now at the point where we want it, lots of grip and also we have made a nice step with a little better engine. Also, this track is good for us because it doesn't have so many straights and we can take full advantage of our improvements."