Munich/Concord. BMW works driver JJ Lehto (FIN) collected his fourth American Le Mans Series pole position during final qualifying for Saturday's Grand Prix of Charlotte. Lehto, co-driving with Jorg Muller (D), qualified the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR in...
Munich/Concord. BMW works driver JJ Lehto (FIN) collected his fourth American Le Mans Series pole position during final qualifying for Saturday's Grand Prix of Charlotte. Lehto, co-driving with Jorg Muller (D), qualified the No. 42 BMW V12 LMR in one minute, 4.096 seconds at an average speed of 126.373 miles an hour on the 2.25-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway road course. Teammates Bill Auberlen (USA) and Jean-Marc Gounon (F) will start sixth in the No. 43 BMW, based on Gounon's qualifying time of 1:04.695 (125.203 mph).
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "The good thing over the past few days is that both cars ran without any major problem. The balance of the cars was generally quite good, which allows us to run at a very high pace. I'm happy that J.J. was able to use this pace to put the 42 car on the pole position. And I'm content with what Jean-Marc did. He's fast and consistent, he just wasn't able to put everything together today in the single qualifying lap. Qualifying is one thing; what matters is the race, and I'm very happy with the performance of both cars."
JJ Lehto #42: "It's a short race, two hours 45 minutes. It's a sprint race, so you go flat out from the first lap until the last lap, so [the strategy] is up to tires and pitstop tactics. It's always good to start at the front, so we can have a few laps of a clear run, especially here with 21 cars. But it will be more free racing anyways because there are less cars. This is just the right amount of cars for this track."
Jorg Muller #42: "Our team works very well together. Mainly everything was done by J.J. because setupwise we're very similar. That's the basis of the good track times at the moment because both of us can set up the car. I wasn't here for the test, so I still need some laps to get used to the track."
Jean-Marc Gounon #43: "I think it was my lack of experience, both with the tires and the qualification settings for the car. My car was not aggressive enough and I wasn't agressive enough. But the car is quite nice for the race. Qualifying is just one lap, but the race is another story. It's disappointing, but it's experience."
Bill Auberlen #43: "We have a very reliable car, and one of the best teams out here. The competition is so close between Audi, Panoz and BMW, this race is going to be tighter and nastier than we've seen in a long time. To get by here, you have to be kind of brutish. The first half of the race we'll play it by ear, the second half we'll have to try to assert ourselves."