Hour 3: BMW M3 GTRs hold positions 1,2,3,4 at three-hour mark. Braselton, Ga., -- Rain greeted the teams in this morning's warm-up session, but as the 12 o'clock Petit Le Mans start time approached the skies brightened and the line around the...
Hour 3: BMW M3 GTRs hold positions 1,2,3,4 at three-hour mark.
Braselton, Ga., -- Rain greeted the teams in this morning's warm-up session, but as the 12 o'clock Petit Le Mans start time approached the skies brightened and the line around the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit began to dry.
Four caution periods in the first two hours of the race kept both BMW Team PTG and BMW Motorsport busy as the four V8-powered M3 GTRs paced the GT field. The pole sitting No. 42 BMW Motorsport M3 GTR of JJ Lehto led for the first hour before a pit stop shuffled the No. 10 Team PTG M3 GTR of David Murry to the point until the No. 43 BMW Motorsport M3 GTR of Jörg Müller headed him. Only the No. 6 of Boris Said, who replaced Stuck at the .55 mark, ran outside of the top four when an air hose problem during the pit stop delayed him, but he quickly moved up.
Murry pitted the No. 10 M3 GTR at the 1.50 mark and Niclas Jonsson replaced him.
At the 2.40 mark the leading No. 42 M3 GTR of JJ Lehto pitted to replace a flat right-rear tire after contact with a prototype car. Fredrick Ekblom replaced Lehto and returned to the race in the sixth position and moved up to fourth in only a few laps.
At the three-hour mark the BMW M3 GTR quartet of Dirk Müller (43), Niclas Jonsson (10), Boris Said (6) and Fredrik Ekblom (42) was back together at the front of the GT field with 115 laps completed.
Hans Stuck, driver No. 6 PTG M3 GTR:
"The start for us was clean. Everyone was very smart and I focused on getting by my old friend Walter Brun in the Saleen. The only problem I found was that we forgot to open the vent so I saved twenty dollars for a sauna today. I tried to keep the best pace for my car and everything is fine for Boris."
David Murry, driver No. 10 PTG M3 GTR
"It is a lot of fun to drive such a competitive car as the M3 GTR. It is great that BMW has given me the chance in such a ride. I tried to keep up a good pace and stay focused. Everything was perfect except for the inside mirror. It was coming loose and I had to adjust it two or three times a lap. I radioed the crew before our stop and they had the correct wrench in Nic's hand and he tightened it up after belting in for his stint. We didn't miss a beat."
- Bill Cobb