BMW Team PTG M3s Will Start 1st, 3rd and 4th in Emco Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio; Marks Scores Third Consecutive GT Pole Justin Marks, driving the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, scored his third consecutive Rolex Sports Car Series GT pole today...
BMW Team PTG M3s Will Start 1st, 3rd and 4th in Emco Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio; Marks Scores Third Consecutive GT Pole
Justin Marks, driving the No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, scored his third consecutive Rolex Sports Car Series GT pole today as the BMW Team PTG M3s took three of the top-four GT class starting spots for tomorrow's Emco Gears Classic. His time of 1:28.359 minutes around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was the fastest of the 22-car class for BMW Team PTG's fifth pole of the season. Marks has been a fixture on the GT podium since his first win of the year at Laguna Seca Raceway in Round 4. Since partnering with Hand in Round 7 at Daytona International Speedway the duo has combined for two wins and one second as they have climbed to second (Hand) and fourth (Marks) in Driver Points.
Ian James, driving the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3, was third (1:28.538). James will co-drive with Chris Gleason and Bill Auberlen. Kelly Collins, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3, qualified fourth (1:28.572). He will co-drive with RJ Valentine and Tom Milner.
When the 15-minute qualifying session got under way James was the first to set fast time. On his very first timed lap Marks took over the point, but on the next lap qualifying was halted for an incident on track. The black flag brought all cars to the pits and the session was restarted with only enough time for one more timed lap. Marks improved to hold the pole as Ron Fellows' Pontiac slotted in between the No. 16 and 22 M3s.
This season, BMW Team PTG has scored five victories in the first nine races and has five drivers in the top-10 in Driver Points. With four wins to-date, Hand stands second. Marks is fourth, Tom Milner eighth, Bill Auberlen ninth and Ian James 10th.
The Emco Gears Classic is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET tomorrow and will televised on Speed Channel on August 28 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (first):
"Joey did a great job setting up the car and another pole is indicative of what the No. 16 team is all about. I only had one lap to protect the pole after the black flag so I had to go for it. I am not surprised to see Fellows next to me as the Pontiac seems to be able to go fast when necessary. Our 3.2-liter engine may not hold off his 6.0-liter motor in the race to the first corner, but we plan to be out front at the checkered flag."
IAN JAMES, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (third):
"I am pleased with my lap, but I would have liked to stay on the front row. The corners here really flow into one another and if you make a small mistake it can take two or three more turns to catch up. I made a few errors and it cost me."
KELLY COLLINS, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (fourth):
"We made a major suspension change and a minor aero change before the session and the No. 21 was as good as it had been all day. It took a few laps to bring the new tires up to temperature and I was on a great third lap when the black flag came out, really ending the session for me."