After 20 hours: Despite setbacks BMW Motorsport is still in for a GTE podium in Le Mans.
Le Mans, 12th June 2011. Two safety-car periods, many changes of position and several minor incidents with major unfortunate consequences: Sunday morning at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FR) was a dramatic affair for Team BMW Motorsport. With four hours to go at the “Circuit de la Sarthe”, the no. 56 BMW M3 GT is running in third in the LM GTE category. The other car (number 55) currently holds fifth.
The leading no. 74 Corvette retired after a heavy accident with a Porsche, whose driver Horst Felbermayr Jr (AT) had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. Car number 55, driven by Dirk Werner (DE), improved to fourth following this incident, gaining another position after the pit stop of another competitor in safety-car conditions.
After the changeover to Augusto Farfus (BR), the BMW M3 GT closed in on the second-placed car, but then radiator damage on no. 55 made another unscheduled pit stop necessary. The crew changed the radiator in just ten minutes, but still this meant Farfus dropped back to sixth. Jörg Müller (DE) will be in the car next , trying to put the no. 55 car in a good position for the final sprint.
In the other BMW M3 GT Joey Hand (US) defended sixth place at first. However, when he was among the first group of drivers passing the scene of the Corvette’s accident, he went over some debris which caused a puncture. During the following pit stop Andy Priaulx (GB) took over and worked his way up to fourth over the course of the following laps. When the sister no. 55 car was in the pits for repairs, Priaulx even improved to third. Since lap 238 car number 56 has been driven by Dirk Müller (DE).
Andy Priaulx (car number 56): “I was much happier with that, as it was a better stint than the one in the dark. This one was really positive, as I was the fastest car on the track. We are in a good position now and fighting for a podium. We still have some hours to go so it is a long way and we will see.”
-source: bmw motorsports