Watkins Glen: BMW Team PTG race report

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 3rd, 8th and 11th in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen Watkins Glen, N.Y. - June 12, 2005-- The No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3 of Justin Marks, Tom Milner and RJ Valentine took a hard-fought third-place finish in the GT...

BMW Team PTG M3s Finish 3rd, 8th and 11th in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen

Watkins Glen, N.Y. - June 12, 2005-- The No. 16 BMW Team PTG F1 Air M3 of Justin Marks, Tom Milner and RJ Valentine took a hard-fought third-place finish in the GT class of today's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. They completed 145 laps in the six-hour contest that was marked by nine caution periods and rain in the final three hours that required many pit stops to change back and forth from dry and rain tires. The No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 of Ian James, Chris Gleason and Boris Said experienced problems during the race, ultimately finishing eighth. The trio completed 139 laps. The No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 of Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Kelly Collins ran in the top-three for the early part of the race until a rare suspension breakage sidelined the car. The crew rallied to repair the car and it finished the race five laps in arrears of the No. 22 M3.

The first round of pit stops began just before the one hour mark as the second yellow flag of the race waved. The No. 21 M3 pitted first for fuel and tires, Auberlen handing off to Kelly Collins. Right behind, Milner pitted the No. 16 M3 and Justin Marks took over with new tires and a full load of fuel. The No. 22 was the last to pit and there was not enough space to get close enough to the fueling rig. As the crew tried to jockey the car into position, Chris Gleason entered the car. Gleason had to rejoin the race before fueling could be completed so the No. 22 M3 was forced to pit again. Adding insult to injury, Gleason had to make two extra stops for penalties.

As the second hour of the race unfolded, the No. 16 and 21 M3s raced in and out of the top-three spots, with the No. 22 working is way back to eighth. A third caution period brought the M3s back to the pits for fuel, tires and driver changes. Milner replaced Marks in the No. 16 M3, Said replaced Gleason in the No. 22 and Hand replaced Collins in the No. 21.

Milner took a turn in the lead during the third hour before turning the No. 16 M3 back to Marks. Said pitted and James got back behind the wheel of the No. 22 M3.

Shortly before the four-hour mark Auberlen, who was now driving the No. 21 M3, brought the car into the garage for suspension repairs just as rain began to fall. The No 16 and 22 M3s pitted for rain tires while the race proceeded under the seventh caution period of the race because of water flowing across the track.

The rain let up and as the fifth hour of the race came and went, the No. 16 M3 led while the No. 22 and 21 M3s raced within the top-10 positions. As the final hour of the race began, the rain returned.

With 30 minutes remaining in the race the rain was making for extremely difficult driving. Marks spun as he entered the pits for rain tires. He did not hit anything and continued. Only five seconds from first, another spin cost him valuable time and any chance of a higher finishing position.

Round seven of the Rolex Sports Car Series, the Brumos Porsche 250 will take place on June 30th at Daytona International Speedway. The race is scheduled to be televised live on Speed Channel beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET.

JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (third): "Today we raced in the worst possible conditions. Problems put us back to third, but it still came down to three of us for the win. I fought really hard, but we just could not get it done."

TOM MILNER, DRIVER NO. 16 BMW TEAM PTG F1 AIR M3 (third): "I feel badly for Justin as the race really turned when he got into the car. He did a great job in some very difficult conditions. It is tough when you lead the race for so long and end up third, but for what the day could have brought us third is not bad."

IAN JAMES, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (eighth): "It was not the best of days for the No. 22 M3 with a lot of problems in the pits. But the car is in one piece and we scored valuable points so on to Daytona."

BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (11th): "A rare suspension breakage put us back after running strong. It is a tribute to BMW Team PTG that we were able to finish the race as it was a tremendous amount of work to repair the car."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "It was a difficult race for us today. The rainy conditions, combined with a miscommunication with Race Control about exactly when the race would go green during one of the many caution periods caught us out. It just was not our weekend."

LARRY KOCH, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA MOTORSPORTS MANAGER: "Everyone on the team worked very hard under very difficult conditions. When it rains, it pours, but PTG fought back from every setback to get one more podium finish for the BMW M3."

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Kelly Collins , Ian James , Justin Marks , Chris Gleason