Daytona 24: Sigalsport BMW race report

Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW Led The Race And Ran Impressively In The Top An Impressively In The Top Five For Almost Nine Hours! Los Angeles, January 31, 2007: The No. 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW Riley co-driven by Matthew ...

Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW Led The Race And Ran Impressively In The Top An Impressively In The Top Five For Almost Nine Hours!

Los Angeles, January 31, 2007: The No. 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW Riley co-driven by Matthew Alhadeff, Bill Auberlen, Gene Sigal and former 2000 overall Rolex 24 champion, Karl Wendlinger, qualified with the 5th fastest time on the grid, less than two tenths of a second behind the pole position car, and finished 25th in the DP class in the 24-hour race due to an unfortunate accident after nine hours of competition.

For the first ten hours of the race, the 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW-Riley ran at or near the front of the Daytona Prototype (DP) pack, but on lap 338, while running third overall, the car, driven by Karl Wendlinger at the time, was first rear-ended and then T-boned by a Porsche GT. The Austrian driver brought the car in for repairs with heavy damage. The crew did a fantastic job and in less than 30 minutes, Gene Sigal took the car back to the track in 11th position. Unfortunately, the car was not in its best shape a few laps after the red flag period, the team decided that the damage was too great and the car was retired.

The team showed its true potential and even led the race for the first time in the young Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW's history. Bill Auberlen who was superb driving the 05 car powered by the impressive and reliable V8 BMW Dinan engine, led laps 66 and 67 which was an awesome achievement for the Los Angeles based Rookie team which is racing in its first ever full season of Daytona Prototype.

The Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW that unveiled its 2007 BMW Riley the Tuesday before the race did a fantastic job preparing the car showing that the car could run at the front of the pack and the team can now be included in the contenders0x2859 list to score podium finishes and win a race soon.

Matt Alhadeff who was racing in his second Rolex 24 at Daytona and in his second full season of Rolex Series did a fantastic job driving the 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport DP powered by the BMW Dinan engine. Matt drove a total of two stints and never made a mistake. In his first stint he took the car after Bill Auberlen in P1 position with huge pressure but was able to focus and use his impressive driving skills to stay in the top five. In his second stint Matt was even able to take the 05 car from P4 to P3 which is a very promising result knowing that he and Bill will share the car for the rest of the 2007 Rolex Series season.

"I was very excited about the 2007 Rolex 24 Hour race. In fact, this might be the most anxiety I ever had going into a race weekend because I had such high hopes for our team this year. Everybody on this team has been persevering so hard to get our team to be as competitive as we can be. We had all the pieces in place to come through with a great finish but so many things can happen in 24 Hours (just ask Jack Bauer)!" declared Matt after the race. "Yes I am disappointed with this Rolex 24 result but I am looking forward to the Mexico City race in three weeks. We have the right chassis/engine package and I am confident we can be on the podium like we were in 2005 when we were racing the M3 there - announced Alhadeff."

Gene drove only one stint but was very good. The 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona was Gene's first racing experience in a DP car and he's looking forward to do more racing this year with his own Sigalsport BMW DP. The team is finalizing sponsorship details at this time and Gene might be able to go racing very soon, perhaps even at Homestead in less than two months.

The team is now back in Los Angeles to prepare the second round of the 2007 Rolex Series to be raced at Mexico City, Mexico on March 3, 2007.

-credit: sigalsport bmw

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