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BMW M3s REACH THE SUMMIT AT PIKES PEAK INT'L RACEWAY; M3s Sweep Top Five Positions; Auberlen Regains Points Lead FOUNTAIN. COLO., September 28, 1997 - Bill Auberlen and Boris Said led a BMW M3 sweep of the top five positions in the GTS-3...

BMW M3s REACH THE SUMMIT AT PIKES PEAK INT'L RACEWAY; M3s Sweep Top Five Positions; Auberlen Regains Points Lead

FOUNTAIN. COLO., September 28, 1997 - Bill Auberlen and Boris Said led a BMW M3 sweep of the top five positions in the GTS-3 class of the Festival of Road Racing at Pikes Peak International Raceway today, allowing Auberlen to unofficially retake the lead in the Driver's Championship.

The BMW M3s were relieved of the 100 pounds of weight that was added to them last week at Las Vegas by Professional SportsCar Racing, Inc., but had to race this weekend with a rev-limiter that kept them limited to 8,000 rpm's. The M3s rose to the occasion, sweeping the top five positions in the GTS-3 class at the Festival of Road Racing at Pikes Peak International Raceway. This all-BMW M3 sweep was a first in GTS-3 history. The Pikes Peak event was round nine, a one-hour-45-minute event, of the 11-race Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive.

Bill Auberlen and Boris Said drove No. 10 Yokohama M3 four-door to the sedan's second victory of the year, finishing 17 seconds ahead of the No. 7 Red Bull/Fina/ Yokohama M3 coupe of Marc Duez and Dieter Quester. They were followed by Derek Hill and Javier Quiros in the No. 6 Yokohama M3 coupe, and Matthew Cohen and Pete Halsmer in the independent Mattco Racing entry, the No. 77 Alco Capital Group M3. The No. 5 Conoco/Interstate Batteries/Budget Rental Car M3 four-door of Eduardo Pellerano and John Paul Jr., which debuted this weekend for PTG, finished fifth. The Nos. 10, 6,7 and 5 M3s are campaigned by Prototype Technology Group.

Unofficially, Auberlen leapfrogged over Jim Matthews and David Murray, after their No. 39 Porsche crashed on the first lap, to re-take the lead in driver's points, with 188 to Murry's 184. Quiros is third with 182.

The PTG M3s qualified second (Auberlen in No. 10) seventh (Duez in No. 7), eighth (Pellerano No. 5) and 14th (Hill in No. 6), behind the polesitting No. 39 Porsche of points leaders David Murry and Jim Matthews.

Said, starting in No. 10, took the lead after the No. 39 Porsche spun and crashed into another car. The Porsche was damaged, but returned to the race after repairs to finish 12th. Murry, meanwhile, took over the seat of another car in search of valuable points, finishing sixth in the 04 Porsche. The only time Said and Auberlen were not in the lead was for a handful of laps after pitting. Auberlen set the fastest lap of the race with a 55.921-second lap.

"Boris did exactly what he was supposed to do," said Auberlen. "He got the car in the lead and he controlled the entire pace. He brought the car to me in perfect condition. We had a flawless pit stop. I had to drive cautiously, but the car was very quick. I just had to bring it bring it home, don't miss a shift, don't blister a tire. It was the easiest race I ever ran with the most weight on my shoulders I've ever had."

"I'm glad this weekend is over with," said Tom Milner, owner of PTG. "We did what we came to do. The guys did a terrific job; we were behind but never gave up. The Porsche had an unfortunate incident, but we had a similar incident in Road Atlanta."

"The BMW M3 four-door was handling perfectly this afternoon even though we had a lot of oil after that first lap accident," said Pellerano. "The car kept turning and felt good lap after lap. It was a fabulously handling car."

"We were pleased to have the 100 pounds of weight taken off, but to have the rev-limiter put on the BMW M3s is very disappointing," said Erik Wensberg, M Brand Manager, BMW of North America. "We are very pleased with our finish this weekend, but the Porsche would have been difficult to beat."

BMW continues to lead the manufacturer's championship by 25 points over Porsche (224-195), and Milner holds a 45--point margin over Michael Colucci in the team championship.

Sebring International Raceway is next on SportsCar's schedule, with round 10 of the Exxon Supreme GT on Friday, October 18.

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PIT NOTES:

BMW CLINCHES SPORTS CLASS - BMW captured the Speedvision Sports Class Manufacturers Championship and the Car of the Year Trophy on the strength of the victory of Mike Fitzgerald and Anthony Lazzaro in a BMW 328is in Saturday's Sports race. It was Fitzgerald's third and Lazzaro's second visit to victory lane.

BMW MAKES BIG GRAND SPORTS MOVE - Javier Quiros and Terry Borcher started 51st in Saturday's Grand Sports contest and drove their M3 through the field to a seventh place finish. They improved 44 positions.

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Derek Hill , Boris Said , David Murry , Bill Auberlen , Pete Halsmer , Anthony Lazzaro , Jim Matthews , Dieter Quester , John Paul , Marc Duez , Javier Quiros