BMW double podium at Portland

Double Podium for BMW at Portland PORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 10, 2000) -- BMW scored podium finishes in both the prototype and GT classes in Sunday's American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway. The race was eighth in...

Double Podium for BMW at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 10, 2000) -- BMW scored podium finishes in both the prototype and GT classes in Sunday's American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway. The race was eighth in the 12-race series. BMW Motorsport posted a third-place finish in the DecisionPoint Applications Rose City Grand Prix, with a strong drive by JJ Lehto of Finland and Jorg Muller of Germany in the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR. Their teammates Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Jean-Marc Gounon of France also had a good car, but were slowed by a 20-minute pitstop to repair damage to the bodywork and airbox caused by a major tire puncture early in the two-hour 45-minute race. They finished 10th in the prototype class. BMW Team PTG scored strong second- and fourth-place finishes in the race on the 1.944-mile road course. Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., started the No. 7 BMW M3 fourth in the GT class and moved up one position before handing off to Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., after the first hour. Said took second place within 30 minutes and held for the second-place podium finish. Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., started the No. 10 M3 eighth, after struggling with an engine problem all week. He moved to fifth before Nic Jonsson of Aliso Viejo, Calif., took over at the first hour. Jonsson increased another position to finish fourth. "We overcame a lot of obstacles this weekend, but it showed the determination and perserverance of BMW Team PTG," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "It was a terrific effort on their part. A lot of hard work, but to walk away from Portland with a second and a fourth, we can be very happy about that. It just shows that where we qualify isn't always indicative of how we'll perform in the race. I think sometimes we save some of our best efforts for the race." The drivers echoed Salkowsky's sentiments. "I'm really pleased today," said van Overbeek. "The Flextronics/Level One/Yokohama BMW M3 ran without a fault. The worst thing today was traffic -- it was just a bear. Patience definitely paid off. I had a lot of fun in the race, and Boris did a great job keeping the position. It's not as good as first, but we'll take second." Said jockeyed for the win, but finally had to settle for second place behind the No. 51 Dick Barbour Porsche. "The team did a really good job," he said. "We had good pitstops, and the Yokohama tires held up great. I was a little rough on them at the beginning because I thought I could catch the leader. We were gaining for awhile, but I got some bad breaks in traffic and got pushed off the road about five laps in a row. I finally decided I couldn't catch him, so I just brought it home in second. It's a good result for the team." BMW Team PTG encountered problems with the VANOS system on the No. 10 M3 during the Portland race week. The system varies the intake in exhaust valves to increase the cars' performance. "I think Brian and I should be very happy with the car today," Jonsson explained. "We had a mechanical problem all week, and we couldn't fix it for the race, so we were actually down on power. To finish fourth, we should be very, very happy. And we're also happy for our teammates, Boris and Johannes, who finished second. It's great for the whole team. We're looking forward to Atlanta now. We'll go there with a real good engine in the car and I think we'll be choice for the lead and a victory there." Both BMW teams will compete next in the 10-hour, 1000-km ALMS Petit Le Mans, scheduled for Sept. 30 at Road Atlanta in Georgia.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Nic Jönsson