Despite being outpaced in qualifying, the lead BMW duo of Jorg Muller and JJ Lehto swept to their second successive Le Mans Series victory today at Silverstone in the UK. Fresh from their last round success at Charlotte in the U.S., Muller ...
Despite being outpaced in qualifying, the lead BMW duo of Jorg Muller and JJ Lehto swept to their second successive Le Mans Series victory today at Silverstone in the UK.
Fresh from their last round success at Charlotte in the U.S., Muller and Lehto toppled the Panoz of Australian star David Brabham with Jan Magnussen.
Audi drivers Michele Alboreto, Rinaldo Capello and Alan McNish finished in third spot.
"When I crossed the line I was not aware that we had won," Muller said.
"The most frightening moment in this race I had before it was my turn to drive. I got locked in a toilet and had to break the door-- I nearly missed the pit stop."
The BMW squad had struggled in the lead-up to the 500km event, but clever pit tactics and faultless reliability has resulted in Muller and Lehto extending their championship lead.
"This win is really special as it was so unexpected. I had found a rhythm in the race although the car was still hard to drive. I was absolutely sure, that Jorg would be very fast today," Lehto said.
While Muller and Lehto had a trouble free run, others were not so fortunate including team-mates Bill Auberlen and Jean-Marc Gounon (engine), pole-sitters Mimmo Schiattarella/Didier de Radigues (broken throttle cable) and Brabham's Panoz which suffered power steering problems during the race.
"I guess we were a little lucky to pick up second. Our power steering went quite early on in the race and it took several laps to adjust to that as it obviously changed the way the car drove," Brabham said.
Panoz team-mates Johnny O'Connell and Hiroki Katoh also were unlucky to suffer a transmission failure on the last lap of the race while in fourth place.
The third placed Audi actually led late in the race before having to make a late "splash and dash" pit stop for fuel, and then finished the last two laps with broken suspension.
The Dodge Viper squad of Olivier Beretta and Karl Wendlinger were again victorious in the GTS division, while Sascha Maassen and Bob Wollek triumphed in their GT class Porsche 911 GT3-R.
The leading sportscar teams will now head for the famous Le Mans 24 Hour in France on June 17-18. Adelaide will host the final round of the Le Mans Series from December 29-31.
Paul ryan firstname.lastname@example.org