BMW maintains championship lead

Munich/Sonoma. The BMW team came through a difficult weekend to record yet another podium position in the 2000 American Le Mans Series. JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) finished third at the fifth round at Sears Point, California, one place...

Munich/Sonoma. The BMW team came through a difficult weekend to record yet another podium position in the 2000 American Le Mans Series. JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jorg Muller (D) finished third at the fifth round at Sears Point, California, one place ahead of their team-mates Jean-Marc Gounon (F) and Bill Auberlen (US). Müller and Lehto won twice this season and maintain their lead in the championship for drivers, with 124 and 122 points. BMW maintains its lead in the chassis, engine and team championship.

All four BMW drivers struggled to find grip throughout the weekend, thus the team was delighted to come away with such a result. The two BMW V12 LMRs started from sixth (Lehto/Muller) and eighth (Auberlen/Gounon) positions. The two-hour, 45-minute race was won by the Audi of Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello, one lap ahead of the sister car of Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela.

BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "We're very pleased with the results. We knew going into this race that it would be very tough for us because we had a lack of grip on both cars. Our plan was to drive a conservative race; it was a team effort and the reliability of our BMW V12 LMRs which helped to achieve these results."

JJ Lehto #42: "I can't believe we're third. We were not okay at all today. We have a lot of work to do and a lot to catch up."

Jorg Muller #42: "It was a hard race for us, but we still lead in the championship. I'm happy with the result, but we need a better performance at the next race."

Bill Auberlen #43: "We protected the championship lead which is what we were here to do. We were just following Jörg and JJ from behind, had no problems at all and brought fourth-place home."

Jean-Marc Gounon #43: "In the race our BMW was lacking performance, but we benefited from the performance of the two Panoz. I am happy about our good result, but I also know that we need to improve still for the next race in Mosport."

BMW Team PTG driver Hans-Joachim Stuck (D) and his co-driver Boris Said (USA) won the GT class, but their victory was disallowed after the race because the car's fuel tank was found to be bigger than series regulations allow.

Hans-Joachim Stuck, #7, GT class: "There are rules we have to obey and our tank capacity did not comply with the rules. It did not affect the race, because we had still enough to win with an extra two litres of fuel. It's very sad for the team because they tried their utmost. But our improvements have paid off, like the engine, and also the Yokohama tyres played a big role. I put pressure on the Porsche driver, so he cooked his tyres and then the snake bit him."

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Series ALMS
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Hans-Joachim Stuck , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Jean-Marc Gounon , Charly Lamm , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto