BMW Team PTG on Mosport podium

MOSPORT, Ont. (Aug. 6, 2000) -- BMW Motorsport scored its first American Le Mans Series double podium finish of the season on Sunday and BMW Team PTG also mounted the victory podium, after a rain-soaked race on the 2.459-mile ...

MOSPORT, Ont. (Aug. 6, 2000) -- BMW Motorsport scored its first American Le Mans Series double podium finish of the season on Sunday and BMW Team PTG also mounted the victory podium, after a rain-soaked race on the 2.459-mile Mosport International Raceway road course. JJ Lehto of Finland and Jorg Muller of Germany, driving the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR, made up a 66-second deficit to finish just 0.148 seconds behind the winning Audi in the globemegawheels.com Grand Prix at Mosport. Teammates Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Jean-Marc Gounon of France finished third, their first podium finish this season. BMW Motorsport continues to lead the series manufacturer, driver and team championships. In the GT class, BMW Team PTG finished second and fifth. Hans Stuck of Austria started the No. 7 BMW M3 fourth in class and swapped the lead with the No. 23 Porsche until a brush with the tire wall forced him into the pits to check for damage. He held second place, handed over to Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., after 75 minutes of the two-hour 45-minute race and the pair finished second. Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., and Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., raced as high as third in the No. 10 M3, but had to settle for a fifth-place finish. The No. 6 M3 retired early after Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., spun and hit the wall. His co-driver Brian Simo of Carlsbad did not drive. "The weather got nasty really quick and a lot of it came down to tire strategy and keeping the cars on the track," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "Mosport is an unforgiving track, and when you add the weather elements, it gets even more challenging. Hats off to the teams and the drivers because they did a really good job. A podium finish at Mosport in the rain, we'll take it." Said was disappointed with the team's missed victory, but happy with the team's progress. "It's too bad, we had really good pitstops and we had a good car," he said. "We should have won the race, but we had a little glitch and Hans thought we had some damage. He came in and we lost a lap, and we just couldn't make it back. Second's not bad, we'll take it and move on to the next one." Peter Cunningham explained that am illegal pass by the race leader during the first caution period cost the team a lap. "Unfortunately, we were erroneously put a lap down when the first yellow came out, and that pretty much froze us out of a top position," he said. "We still could have been a little better than what we were, but we ended up staying on rain tires. One of the other cars switched to dries and came from nowhere and just drove right by us. We had a decent run, and we'll just keep getting better." The team's decision to not repair the No. 6 car after van Overbeek's shunt was the right one, he said. "We went from eighth to first and everything was going great. Then we came in for rain tires and when it went green, I was coming out of turn three and it just snapped on me and smacked the wall. We probably could have fixed it, but we would have spent most of the race fixing the car instead of driving it. So I think it was best just to park it and go get 'em in Texas." Both BMW teams will compete in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Texas at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 2.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Boris Said , Brian Simo , Jorg Muller , Peter Cunningham , Johannes van Overbeek , Brian Cunningham , Jean-Marc Gounon , JJ Lehto