FIRST TOP TEN OF THE SEASON FOR SIGALSPORT BMW TEAM IN MEXICO CITY! Los Angeles, March 7, 2006: Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff in the No. 05 Alhadeff Motorsports/Motul/GRW.com.mx/enVista/OMP BMW M3 were in contention to win their first GT...
FIRST TOP TEN OF THE SEASON FOR SIGALSPORT BMW TEAM IN MEXICO CITY!
Los Angeles, March 7, 2006: Bill Auberlen and Matt Alhadeff in the No. 05 Alhadeff Motorsports/Motul/GRW.com.mx/enVista/OMP BMW M3 were in contention to win their first GT race together in Mexico City but were forced to retire 20 laps before the end of the race after a transmission problem. They finished 12th in class. Bill Auberlen was able to score the fastest GT lap of the race like he did last November at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
Gene Sigal and Peter MacLeod in the No. 04 Sigalsport /Java One Coffee/ Motul/GRW.com.mx/enVista/OMP BMW M3 finished 8th and scored their first top ten result of the season.
The Mexico City event marked the second round of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. In the first sessions the two BMW M3s were running very well and Bill Auberlen recorded the second fastest time in three out of four practice sessions proving that in the race the No. 05 Sigalsport BMW machine would be a true contender for the win.
The team decided that Gene Sigal and Matt Alhadeff would be the two qualifying drivers for the 15' session on Friday and according to the Grand American Series rules, they would also be the starting drivers in the Saturday's race. Both Sigalsport BMW drivers did a great job in qualifying and Matt Alhadeff was able to qualify 6th despite a very competitive GT field, and Sigalsport team owner Gene Sigal 7th.
At the start on Saturday afternoon, Matt Alhadeff was able to outrun one of the fastest GT cars for 5th place and during the first 42 laps of the race, Matt battled with one of the TRG Pontiacs and one of the Synergy Porsches before handing the wheel to his co-driver, Bill Auberlen in sixth place. Bill Auberlen took over the 05 car on lap 42 during the first yellow flag of the race. On the restart Bill had only one goal, to take the Sigalsport BMW machine to the top of the GT leader board. He started passing cars until the next yellow on lap 67 where he pitted for a new set of tires in 3rd place. When the race returned to green on lap 74, Bill was on the move and in only three laps, passed the N. 80 Synergy Porsche and at the same time scored the fastest GT lap of the race in 1'30:685. On lap 77, Bill was running right behind the GT leader, the No. 64 Pontiac GTO and was going to make the pass for the lead and certainly the win, only 15 laps before the end of the race. Unfortunately the Mexican gods were not on Sigalsport's side that Saturday in Mexico City and instead of taking the lead, Bill was forced to pit due to a transmission problem which happened to be terminal for the 05 Sigalsport BMW which finished 12th in the GT class.
Gene Sigal co-driving the 04 Sigalsport BMW had a good start but a few laps into the race, a problem in the engine compartment, discovered during the final practice session on Saturday morning, got worse and the 04 machine started to lose power and was unable to fight with the top GT cars. Gene did a great job during his entire stint but due to this problem went from 7th to 9th in the race before handing the car to his co-driver, Peter MacLeod, on lap 43. Peter started his stint with the ambition to preserve his top ten position with the 2006 overall championship goal in mind. Sigal and MacLeod managed to finish 8th in class.