FT. WORTH, Texas (March 4, 2001) - BMW Team PTG took advantage of = caution periods and used excellent pit stop work to finish third in the = GT class with the No. 6 BMW M3 of Hans Stuck and Boris Said, covering = 107 laps around the ...
FT. WORTH, Texas (March 4, 2001) - BMW Team PTG took advantage of = caution periods and used excellent pit stop work to finish third in the = GT class with the No. 6 BMW M3 of Hans Stuck and Boris Said, covering = 107 laps around the 2.324-mile Texas Motor Speedway circuit in the = two-hour-and-45-minute Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas. The No. 10 = BMW M3 of Bill Auberlen and Niclas Jonsson finished seventh after = running third in the closing stages of the race.
The No. 42 BMW Motorsport M3 of JJ Lehto of Finland and Jorg Muller = of Germany ran in a top three position for most of the race, dropping to = a fifth place finish after an unplanned third stop for front tires.
Overall it was a strong debut for a new M3 effort in North America = as all three M3s scored points in the run for the 2001 American Le Mans = Series GT championship.=20
PTG team owner, Tom Milner said, "I thought a BMW could get on the = podium today - either a PTG or BMW Motorsport M3. We are very happy = with the result and will get even stronger."
Auberlen, starting fifth with a qualifying time of 1:27.064 and, = Said, starting eighth with a qualifying time of 1:28.300 ran a steady = pace and held the sixth and seventh positions for the first hour, never = far out of sight of the leaders.
Just past the one-hour mark debris on the front straight brought out = the first yellow of the day and quick work by both crews for fuel, tires = and a drivers change gained both M3s two places. =20
"The grip came back to the track," said Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, = Calif. "The M3 was handling great and everything was fine for Nic - = except for the shifter was a little loose. I had a little spin because = of it."
Running a conservative pace Said, of Carlsbad, Calif. said, "We = wanted to run smoothly, lift early and try to go for one stop. The = yellow ended that, but Hans got an M3 that was 100 percent."
At the two-hour mark the three BMW M3s in the field were scored in = third, fourth and fifth positions.
The second yellow of the race brought both PTG M3s back to the pits = and the best pit stops of the race. The No. 10 of Jonsson rejoined the = race in third with the No. 6 of Stuck, just behind, in fourth.
Debris on the track punctured the right rear Yokohama of the No. 10 = M3 with twenty minutes to go, but, again, quick work in the pits got = Jonsson back out to record PTG's quickest time of the race with a = 1:25.724 on lap 101, catching up to Stuck and following him across the = finish line only two seconds ahead of the fourth place Porsche.
"We caught two cars in the pits - coming out third, " said a tired = Jonsson, of Aliso Viejo, Calif. "I got back out after the puncture and = was fortunate to catch up with Hans and help him to the finish."
A delighted Stuck, of Austria said, "We had some luck and picked up = valuable points for the season. At the end, I could see the Porsche = closing on me and used a couple of tricks to keep him behind me. It was = a very good team effort today. We had to go strong."
The American Le Mans Series continues on March 17th with the 49th = running of the 12 Hours of Sebring.=20