Auberlen leads historic BMW Team PTG sweep at Infineon Speed GT SONOMA, Calif. (July 27, 2003) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., led BMW Team PTG teammates, Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif.; Hans Stuck, of Austria; and Justin Marks, of...
Auberlen leads historic BMW Team PTG sweep at Infineon Speed GT
SONOMA, Calif. (July 27, 2003) -- Bill Auberlen, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., led BMW Team PTG teammates, Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif.; Hans Stuck, of Austria; and Justin Marks, of Woodside, Calif., to a dominating and historic first through fourth-place finish at the Grand Prix of Sonoma SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Round Six race at Infineon Raceway.
Auberlen started from the pole and led the entire race finishing with a 6.75 second lead at an average speed 81.529 mph for the 25-lap, 63-mile race.
"With a BMW, it is easy here compared to everyone else," Auberlen said of BMW's dominance over the competition. "I would use the jump on the start and I would get a little bit of a gap. I noticed if I could get a gap, then I could hold it. I couldn't pull away, but I could just stay there."
BMW Team PTG is the first team in SCCA Speed World Challenge GT history to have its drivers finish first through fourth. Several teams previously finished first through third, most recently in 1999.
"Team PTG prepared a great car here," Auberlen said. "They have so much experience coming here with this car. You come, the car is pretty good and we make a few modifications to it. When you got a team like Boris, Hans and Justin, you have the best drivers."
Teammates Stuck and Said battled for second during the race's later stages, including putting an impressive move on the lapped car of Mark Kibort following a full course caution for oil on the track at lap 14. On the restart, Stuck and Said split Kibort, going three wide through turn one. Said took over the second with three laps to go, relegating Stuck to third.
"It's much better to have Boris in my car as my teammate, at least I wouldn't have to battle with him," Stuck said of his battle with Said. "I know how strong he is and we both like the same car set-up. So, I know where his car was good and my car was better. I couldn't think of anyone else that I could go door-to-door with and still leave enough room for each other. You couldn't do it without being as good of friends as we are. I really enjoyed this fight today. It is one of the best I've ever had."
Said called the race with Stuck a "lot of fun."
"I'm watching [Stuck and Said] in my mirror battling back-and-forth and I'm wondering what's going on back there," Auberlen said describing his battling teammates. "Every time I would come out of turn 11, they would come in there side-by-side. It looked like a good race."
Team PTG driver Marks finished fourth and the Aggregate Industries Corvette piloted by Phil McClure completed the top-five.
The Champion Racing Audis struggled from the start of the race as defending series Champion Michael Galati and John Young's Saleen bumped at the standing start. It was also a disappointing finish for point leader Randy Pobst, as he cut a tire late in the race and finished 15th. It was the first time in 14 races that Pobst did not finish on the podium.
With the win, Auberlen takes over the SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Point Standings with 162, followed by Pobst, with 153, McClure, with 151, Stuck, with 124, and Marks, with 106.
BMW maintains the SCCA Speed GT Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine with 40 points, followed by Audi, with 28, Chevrolet, with 26, and Porsche, with 19.
The Remus Power Move of the race was Pobst, who moved from fifth on the grid to second at the start. The Sunoco Hard Charger award was earned by Victor Contreras as he started 15th and finished ninth.
SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Championship heads to Road America Aug. 1-3 for the Mario Andretti Grand Prix at Road America in Elkart Lake, Wis.
Today's race will air at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, Aug. 2 on Speed Channel.
For more information, including live timing and scoring, visit www.world-challenge.com.
-scca pro racing-