Birmingham: BMW Team PTG qualifying report

BMW Team PTG M3s Will Start 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park; Marks Scores First Career GT Pole Justin Marks, driving the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, scored his first career Rolex Sports Car...

BMW Team PTG M3s Will Start 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th in Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park; Marks Scores First Career GT Pole

Justin Marks, driving the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, scored his first career Rolex Sports Car Series GT pole today as the BMW Team PTG M3s took four of the top-five GT class starting spots for tomorrow's Porsche 250. Marks' pole was the BMW Team PTG's third of the season.

Even with GT class competition increasing every race and today's top-10 qualifiers within only one second of Marks pole time of 1:31.036 minutes, BMW Team PTG continues to stay on top. The four BMW Team PTG drivers qualifying times were within .144 seconds.

Kelly Collins, driving the No. 17 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, qualified second (1:31.109), Ian James, driving the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3, was fourth (1:31.170) and Tom Milner, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 was fifth (1:31.180).

This weekend Marks will co-drive the No. 16 M3 with Joey Hand. Marks and Hand co-drove to BMW Team PTG's 50th win at the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway on June 30th. Collins will share the No. 17 M3 with RJ Valentine and James will co-drive the No. 22 M3 with Chris Gleason. Milner will team with Bill Auberlen. The duo has shared a victory at Laguna Seca this season.

This season, BMW Team PTG has scored four victories in the first seven races and has four drivers in the top-10 in Drivers Points. With three wins to-date Hand stands third. Marks is fifth, Tom Milner sixth and Auberlen seventh.

In 2004 Rolex Series competition, Bill Auberlen and Justin Marks, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 scored the team's ninth Rolex Sports Car Series GT class victory and fifth 1-2 BMW M3 finish of the season in the Porsche 250. They finished one lap ahead of the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 of Boris Said and Joey Hand.

The Porsche 250 is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. CT tomorrow and will televised live on Speed Channel.

Background: 2005 marks the tenth season of competition for BMW M3s of BMW Team PTG and 30th anniversary of BMW of North America's motorsport programs. In nine seasons, BMW Team PTG has won a total of 50 races in both sprint and endurance racing series and 14 sports car racing championships. In 2004, BMW Team PTG swept the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class Manufacturer, Driver and Team Points championships, winning 10 of 12 races.

JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (first): "I am a bit surprised to be on the pole as it took me quite a few laps to get a clear track and I was afraid that the tires had passed their optimal point. The pole is really a testament to the hard work of the crew and Joey in setting up the car. I think we have a great chance for another win."

KELLY COLLINS, DRIVER NO. 17 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (second): "My timing was a bit off on my quick lap and I caught traffic. The competition is so close that anyone can slow you down if you catch them at certain parts of this track. I am happy to be second, but there was a pole in the No.17 M3 today."

IAN JAMES, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fourth): "The No. 22 M3 was as quick on the last lap as it was on the first. I was the fastest for a while, then Kelly and then Justin. The usual great work by BMW Team PTG and a very good result for BMW today."

TOM MILNER, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fifth): "Everyone is very close and I had to fight for every fraction of a second. We made some changes and I think we have a bit more work to do, but today it was about pushing myself hard in the session."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Kelly Collins , Ian James , Justin Marks , Chris Gleason