Promising start for BMW Motorsport in Le Mans.
Le Mans, 9th June 2011. After the first track action in the build up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FR), BMW Motorsport is able to feel positive about the result: In the first qualifying session at the “Circuit de la Sarthe”, Andy Priaulx (GB) set the fastest lap time in the LM GTE class, driving the no. 56 BMW M3 GT.
The triple world touring car champion put in a 3:58.426-minute lap right at the beginning of the two-hour session, which wasn’t beaten by any other car up to when the chequered flag came out at midnight. At the wheel of the second BMW M3 GT (number 55), Jörg Müller (DE) posted a lap time of 3:59.321 minutes earning him and his team-mates provisional third on the starting grid. Therefore Müller rounded off what was an excellent overall result for BMW Motorsport, after the team had already come first and second in the free practice session.
Due to an accident involving two cars, qualifying had to be red-flagged after about an hour and also finished a few seconds early following another incident. All the Team BMW Motorsport drivers had the opportunity to get to grips with conditions on this classic circuit at night. Jörg Müller alternated at the wheel with Augusto Farfus (BR) and Dirk Werner (DE), while Priaulx shared the no. 56 BMW M3 GT with Dirk Müller (DE) and Joey Hand (US). The final grid positions for the Le Mans 24 Hours will be decided in two further qualifying sessions held on Thursday.
Charly Lamm (Team Manager): “Le Mans is such a special place. That’s why you never know beforehand where you stand in comparison to the opposition. Therefore, first and third positions are a really good starting point for the remainder of the weekend. We should be totally happy with it. Both BMW M3 GT cars worked flawlessly today, so we were able to make full use of the time we spent on the track.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 56): “I am very happy. This is an almost perfect result for us today, and on top of that my lap was almost perfect. I hit almost every apex. It looks good for the weekend, although I expect tomorrow’s lap times to get even faster. But we are in a good position.”
Jörg Müller (car number 55): “I think we can be really happy with this qualifying. During the day we managed to take several steps forward. The set-up of our car is good. It’s always important to spend a lot of time on the track in the dark, just to get used to these special conditions. That’s why this has been a really positive day for us.”