BMW Team PTG on Mosport Podium BOWMANVILLE, Ont. (June 27, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG collected two GT class podium finishes in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix at Mosport, despite difficulties encountered by all three team...
BMW Team PTG on Mosport Podium
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. (June 27, 1999) -- BMW Team PTG collected two GT class podium finishes in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix at Mosport, despite difficulties encountered by all three team cars. The race, held under threat of heavy rain, was the third of eight in the American Le Mans Series. The team qualified first, second and third in the 11-car GT class. Austrian Hans Stuck set a class record in the No.10 BMW M3 with his qualifying time of one minute 23.303 seconds on the 2.459-mile Mosport International Raceway road course at an average speed of 106.26 miles per hour. Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., qualified the No. 7 M3 second in class and Mark Simo of Carlsbad, Calif., set the third-fastest time in the No. 6 car. Stuck led through the first hour of the two hour 45 minute race, but lost his 14-second lead when the left front tire went down and he had to pit for fresh tires. Christian Menzel of Germany then took the wheel and posted a second-place finish, despite losing a lap at the start of a caution period. "We had it in hand, but we got chopped off by bad luck because we lost one lap behind the pace car. We were just in the wrong spot," Stuck said. "But we're happy with second place. Points are very important and the season isn't over yet." Menzel echoed his sentiments. "Normally, we'd have a big chance to win but we were unlucky with the tire and had an unlucky situation with the pace car. I'm sure the BMW is a winner car and we are a winner team." Brian Cunningham and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., were third in class in the No. 7 M3 after overcoming a spin in heavy traffic. "We had a pretty eventful race. We were right in front of the number 23 [Alex Job Porsche] and trying to keep out front. I went into turn three and mismatched a shift. I was a bit wide and had a small spin. Then I was behind the number 76 [A.R.E. Porsche] and catching him and he kept cutting me off. I got underneath him in the last corner and he cut me off and we hit. We had to come in and change tires, but luckily the rain held off and we were able to finish third," Cunningham said. Simo and Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., finished ninth in the #6 M3 after a long pit stop to replace a damaged radiator. "I got into a situation with four cars racing close, and I didn't have the perspective I needed when the 99 car [Shumacher Racing Porsche] spun. I went into the back of the number 23 [Alex Job Porsche], but not intentionally. It was just a tap, but it damaged the car. A small hole in the radiator is just as bad as a brick to the head. It puts you out. It's unfortunate because I felt like whatever the car was doing, I could deal with it. I just felt really, really good in the car," Simo explained. "But we'll get 'em at Sears Point." Scott Doniger, motorsport manager for BMW of North America praised the BMW Team PTG drivers. "We're very happy with second and third place, but our goal was to come here and win. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that," he said. "But we got a great performance from our drivers in some really difficult conditions. There was a lot of traffic out there and we also got caught under the yellow flag in a disadvantageous position. But we were able to overcome that and put two cars on the podium." The team is now preparing for back-to-back races at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on July 25 and at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway Aug. 1.
BMW FOURTH IN MOTOROLA CUP Steve Pfeffer of Etna, N.H., and Mike Fitzgerald of Atlanta finished fourth in the 44-car Motorola Cup race Saturday, racing the Franz Blam Racing BMW M3. # # #