Charlotte BMW Takes Victory

The BMW duo of JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller held on to take victory in round two of the Le Mans Series at Charlotte in the U.S. today. Clever pit-stop tactics late in the race during a yellow flag safety car period enabled the BMW to hold off a hard...

The BMW duo of JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller held on to take victory in round two of the Le Mans Series at Charlotte in the U.S. today.

Clever pit-stop tactics late in the race during a yellow flag safety car period enabled the BMW to hold off a hard charging David Brabham aboard his Panoz.

BMW elected to keep Muller in the car rather than do a driver change at their last pit stop - enabling the German manufacturer to maintain its lead.

"We planned for me to go out at the end, but the yellow changed that. I was just watching at the end and getting nervous," Lehto said.

"Team strategy put us in position at the right time," said Muller. "It was brilliant teamwork. At the end, I wasn't pushing."

Domenico Schiattarella and Didier de Radigues took third aboard their Lola while both Audis struck trouble with Sebring winner Frank Biela suffering a heavy crash.

Brabham was pleased to grab a podium position after failing to finish at Sebring, but disappointed not to earn a race victory.

"We had the fastest car today, but were unlucky on our pit stops," Brabham said.

"We pitted late during one of the safety car periods and the other BMW ended up between me and the lead car.

"I eventually got past and was closing on Muller but ran out of time."

Brabham finished seven seconds adrift of the Muller/Lehto car at the finish.

The Dodge Viper squad took its seventh straight Le Mans Series victory with Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger taking the win in the GTS class.

The GT class provided a thrilling result with BMW just failing to take its first victory with its new M3 model.

The Peter & Brian Cunningham BMW held the lead with less than four minutes remaining but was passed by Sascha Maassen aboard the Porsche GT3R he was sharing with Le Mans 24 hour veteran, Bob Wollek.

The Le Mans Series heads to Europe for the next round at Silverstone in the U.K. on May 7. Adelaide will host the final round of the championship on New Year's Eve this year.

RESULTS - PROTOTYPE DIVISION
1. - JJ Lehto/Jorg Muller - BMW - 125 laps
2. - David Brabham/Jan Magnussen - Panoz - 125 laps
3. - Domenico Schiattarella/Didier de Radigues - Lola - 124 laps
4. - Bill Auberlen/Jean Marc Gounon - BMW - 124 laps
5. - Johnny O'Connell/Hiroki Katoh - Panoz - 124 laps
GTS DIVISION
1. - Olivier Beretta/Karl Wendlinger - Dodge Viper - 117 laps
GT DIVISION
1. - Bob Wollek/Sascha Maassen - Porsche GT3R - 113 laps

- Paul Ryan

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Didier de Radigues , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Karl Wendlinger , Johnny O'Connell , Jorg Muller , Bill Auberlen , Sascha Maassen , Ryan Paul , Hiroki Katoh , Brian Cunningham , Domenico Schiattarella , Jean-Marc Gounon , Olivier Beretta , Bob Wollek , JJ Lehto