BMW M3s finish 1-2-3-4

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (May 31, 1999) -- BMW M3s swept the first four GT3 class positions in the Dodge Dealers Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, second race in the 1999 United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC). BMW Team PTG scored its third-consecutive victory at the 1.54-mile track, and took all three podium positions, despite several incidents that challenged the team. The No. 10 M3 four-door, co-driven by Hans Stuck of Austria and Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., started and finished first in class. Said qualified the car in 57.693 seconds at a speed of 95.470 mph. He led for the first 40 minutes of the two-hour 15- minute race, but lost more than two minutes when he spun after being hit by a Can-Am car. Stuck took the wheel after Said pitted for new tires and regained the lead at the 90-minute mark. He had a 35-second lead when he pitted for a splash of fuel with 15 minutes to go, and held on for the victory. The two celebrated with a team yodel in victory circle and high praise for each other. "At the beginning of the race, it seemed like it would be business as usual. We had the car to beat and then unexpected things happened and I got run off the road and I thought it was over. No one else but Hans could have done what he did, to come back from two minutes behind," Said explained. "He was my favorite driver growing up and it's hard to believe that I'm finally racing with him." "Boris drove the thing at the base, I drove it to the end. We had a bit of a mix-up because when he came in, I wasn't ready. Then we lost radio communication -- my engineer couldn't talk to me so I didn't know where I was. I just kept going as decent as possible," Stuck said. "This is my first win for PTG and I've very proud about it. It took me three races to do it, but now I know how it works." Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., qualified the No. 6 M3 coupe second in GT3 (57.840 seconds, 95.228 mph). He led after Said's shunt, only to be hit by the same car 15 minutes later. Cunningham pitted and turned the car over to Mark Simo of Carlsbad, who drove the rest of the race to second place. Cunningham credited Simo with effectively conserving fuel to ensure the second-place finish, since he had pitted for fuel early in the race. Simo said the heat and humidity were a challenge. "Even if I got second, I would have rather had a closer battle. I hadn't realized I was that out of shape with the heat. I couldn't get a rhythm and was probably over-driving it, but I'll work on it. Believe me, I'll be one of the most fit drivers out there by the next race." Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., qualified the No. 7 PTG M3 four-door third in class. He and co-driver Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., had their hands full when the car's anti-lock brakes failed, but still finished third in class. "The ABS failed on the car, almost from the start of the race," van Overbeek said. "Figuring out the threshold on the brakes was a bit of a challenge for the first couple of laps, but after that we were able to run a good pace. But without ABS, we couldn't get the extra second we needed to be competitive." The #51 Aspen Knolls BMW M3 started and finished fourth in class with drivers Shane Lewis of Stuart, Fla., and Bob Mazzuoccola of Staten Island, N.Y. The four M3s finished seventh, eighth, ninth and 11th overall in the 24-car field of Can- Am and GT cars. BMW Team PTG's next race will be race three in the American Le Mans Series, at Mosport International Raceway, June 27. NOTE Derek Bell, multi-time Le Mans and Daytona 24-Hour winner, finished 10th in the Speedvision World Challenge race on Saturday. He drove the Speedvision Legends of Motorsports BMW M coupe while providing live television commentary for the race. Bell was unable to qualify the car due to mechanical problems, so started last in the 28-car field. "The last time I raced here was 10 years ago," he said.