BMW works driver JÃ¶rg MÃ¼ller scores "Petit Le Mans" podium with the BMW M3 GT2. Road Atlanta (US), 27th September 2009. For BMW works driver JÃ¶rg MÃ¼ller (DE) the trip to the classic "Petit Le Mans" race in Road Atlanta (US) turned out to be...
BMW works driver Jörg Müller scores "Petit Le Mans" podium with the BMW M3 GT2.
Road Atlanta (US), 27th September 2009. For BMW works driver Jörg Müller (DE) the trip to the classic "Petit Le Mans" race in Road Atlanta (US) turned out to be a successful one: In his American Le Mans Series comeback, the 2001 GT2 champion finished second in the GT2-category alongside fellow BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team drivers Dirk Müller (DE) and Tommy Milner (US) in the BMW M3.
Car number 92 was running one lap down on the winning Ferrari trio Melo/Kaffer/Salo, when the race was red-flagged after 4 hours 49 minutes. The number 90 BMW M3 with Jörg Müller's fellow works driver Andy Priaulx (GB), Bill Auberlen (US) and Joey Hand (US) at the wheel came 12th following an early radiator puncture which made a pit stop of more than 80 minutes necessary. The BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team celebrated its seventh podium of the season. In addition, Dirk Müller set the fastest lap of all the GT2 drivers in 1:21.366 minutes.
The race was started on a damp track, but conditions again got worse over the course of the endurance classic. Torrential rain hit the 2.54-mile circuit in Braselton (US), Georgia, and so the race which had been scheduled for 10 hours was red- flagged shortly before the halfway mark. The teams sat there waiting for the re-start for more than three hours, but it never happened.
"This has been one of the toughest races of my entire career," said Jörg Müller, who scored four wins in the American Le Mans Series' GT2 class in a BMW M3 GTR in 2001. "I spent almost two hours in the car, and conditions changed as often as our position in the classification. On the one hand I'm disappointed about the early end, as we could have won this race. On the other it would have been really tough out there at night on a wet track."
Milner started the race at the wheel of the BMW M3 carrying number 92, before Dirk Müller took over on lap 32. He completed a double-stint and posted the fastest time of the race on lap 71. On the 110th he handed over the car to Jörg Müller running in third. Despite an off-track moment six laps later the, BMW works driver managed to reduce the gap to the front-runners and when the red flag came out, he had worked his way up again to second.
Dirk Müller commented: "I took over in seventh position. The track was still damp, so it took me some laps to get the slick tyres working. Then I pushed hard to work my way up. I fought many exciting duels out there, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately the weather just got too bad to re-start the race."
The second BMW M3 GT2 also had what it takes to score a top result. But starting driver Auberlen was forced to head into the pits on lap 53 for lengthy repair works, which cost valuable time. Priaulx was many laps down when he joined the race. The triple world touring car champion set competitive lap times. At the end of the day, Hand drove car number 90 home in 12th after 133 laps.
Nevertheless, Priaulx drew a positive conclusion after his American Le Mans Series debut. "This event was really good fun," said the Guernsey-born driver. "Road Atlanta is a fantastic track - and the BMW M3 GT2 is a fantastic car. My stint was okay, I managed to gain some ground on the leaders. This has been an exciting weekend."
-credit: bmw motorsport