Munich/Monterey. BMW Motorsport finished third and fourth in the American Le Mans Series race on Sunday, after a challenging day on the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway road course. JJ Lehto (FIN), driving with Jorg Muller (D), started fourth in...
Munich/Monterey. BMW Motorsport finished third and fourth in the American Le Mans Series race on Sunday, after a challenging day on the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway road course. JJ Lehto (FIN), driving with Jorg Muller (D), started fourth in the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR, and moved to second at the start. Muller took over at the one- hour mark, returning to the track in third place. He and Lehto, who drove the final 45 minutes of the two-hour 45-minute race, held third for the podium finish. Jean-Marc Gounon (F) started the No. 43 BMW in sixth position. He dropped back through the field after contact with another car at the start, but he recovered the lost positions during a double driving stint. Bill Auberlen (USA) drove the final stint and moved up to finish fourth. In the GT class, Hans-J. Stuck (D) and Boris Said (USA) won for the first time this season.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm : "It's good to finish with both cars and be on the podium again. The 42 BMW V12 LMR had a much less-troubled race than the 43 car. There was one heart-stopping moment when JJ left the circuit because there was oil on the track, but I'm very glad that he could recover and finish in third position. The 43 car had some incidents in the race which cost us time, but most important was that we could detect a slow puncture when Bill was driving the car close to the end. With the tire change, this car finished in fourth position."
JJ Lehto #42: "It's difficult to keep up with the Audis, but we had a very stable race. I hit the oil in turn 3 once, like Jean-Marc, and it was difficult day but I got it back. We were going as fast as we could all the time, no problems. The BMW was running fine."
Jorg Muller #42: "Thanks to JJ -- his first and his last stint were very good. BMW did a good job -- we always improve, but it's still not enough to fight against the new Audi because we still have a year-old car. But it's another podium, so I'm happy we can keep the championship open."
Bill Auberlen #43: "Jean-Marc had a very frustrating first stint. First, contact with an Audi, then in the gravel when he hit some oil on the track. I got in the car and started to reel them in. Then a piece of carbon [from another car's crash] started a flat tire for me, but I didn't know it. I called into the pits because the car felt evil and they told me to come in immediately. If they hadn't made the call right then, it would have been a blown tire. They made an excellent call."
1Jean-Marc Gounon #43: "I'm very frustrated because the Audi hit me, twice, then I went off the circuit from some oil. But I'm happy Bill was able to finish the race and fourth is okay after the problems we had."
Hans-J. Stuck #7 GT: "I'm happy with this win after coming into this week with my mom's heart attack. I want to dedicate this win to her. I was surprised how fast the race was over for me. All of a sudden I got the fuel-reserve light, and it was 50 laps already. It was amazing -- there was not one boring lap in this race for me. The race was too short."