Munich/Sonoma. BMW Motorsport scored its second-consecutive GT victory in Le Mans Series racing, adding Sunday's American Le Mans Series victory on the 2.52-mile Sears Point Raceway road course to the team's May win in the European Le Mans...
Munich/Sonoma. BMW Motorsport scored its second-consecutive GT victory in Le Mans Series racing, adding Sunday's American Le Mans Series victory on the 2.52-mile Sears Point Raceway road course to the team's May win in the European Le Mans Series at Jarama, Spain.
JJ Lehto (FIN) started fourth in class in the No. 42 BMW M3 GTR and moved to third on the first lap. His co-driver Jörg Muller (D) took the wheel after the first hour of the two-hour 45-minute race and moved up to second place after a fast pit stop. Muller stopped during a subsequent caution period for four new tires, which gave him the speed he needed to take the class lead and hold it for the victory.
Dirk Muller (D) started the No. 43 BMW M3 GTR from the pole position, but traded places with the No. 10 BMW Team PTG car driven by Bill Auberlen (USA) and Nic Jönsson (S). Fredrik Ekblom (S) took over at the one-hour mark and returned to the track in the lead. He held first until he was passed by Jörg Müller and by Hans Stuck in the No. 6 BMW Team PTG car. Ekblom passed Stuck on the last lap for second place, but the position was disallowed by series officials because of contact between the two cars. Ekblom and Dirk Müller finished third, the No. 6 BMW of Stuck and Boris Said (USA) finished second and the No. 10 finished fourth.
BMW Motorsport team manager Charly Lamm: "The victory is a fantastic way to come back to America and continue our ALMS program. We saw very good drives from JJ and Jörg in BMW 42, and our decision for a second new set of tires which we put on Jörg's car during the second caution period paid off. BMW 43 had a strong race with Dirk and Fredrik, finishing second on the road, but we accept the steward's decision to put us back into third place after contact was made in the last corner by Fredrik."
JJ Lehto #42: "It was surprising that we could be so competitive in the race. We've had problems all weekend, but in the race I just took it easy and kept up the pace. Jörg was fast right away and he won the class comfortably."
Jörg Müller #42: "Never change a winning team -- don't forget JJ and Jörg! We struggled all weekend with our setup, but the key thing was that I took on new tires on the second stop. It was not easy, but thanks to the guys from PTG and Fredrik, they left me some space to overtake."
Fredrik Ekblom #43: "Dirk drove well and I couldn't improve on it. Congratulations to our teammates for their victory. With Hans, it was a close racing incident. I tried to take second and we had slight contact. I congratulate Hans and Boris on second place, and I accept the steward's decision."
Dirk Müller #43: "I'm really happy for the first place for our team again, same as Jarama. Congratulations to Jörg and JJ. They changed their tires and we didn't, and that was the race. But our car was perfect. Everybody on the team did a great job. We're coming back, race by race getting more points."