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Laguna Seca: BMW GT race notes

Bill Auberlen's second-place finish and a strong BMW Team PTG performance resulted in both BMW and Auberlen extending their respective leads in the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Manufacturer's and Driver's Championships today at Laguna Seca ...

Bill Auberlen's second-place finish and a strong BMW Team PTG performance resulted in both BMW and Auberlen extending their respective leads in the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Manufacturer's and Driver's Championships today at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Despite a 150-pound addition by SCCA Pro Racing to all the BMW M3s prior to the race, Auberlen held firmly onto second after starting eighth. Moving into fourth on lap 7, he continued moving up, and was in third on lap 11. A full-course caution bunched up the field and Auberlen was able to slide into second on the lap-15 restart and hold the spot for the rest of the race.

Hans Stuck won the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for moving from his 11th place starting spot to finish fourth and also the Remus Power Move Award for the two best passes of the race. Stuck also set the fastest lap of the race (1:34.109)

Shadowing Stuck for most of the race, Boris Said finished in fifth after starting ninth. Justin Marks finished eighth and Bryce Miller was 16th in his first Speed GT race.

With eight of 10 races completed, BMW has extended its lead in the Speed GT Manufacturer's Championship to 10 points over Audi. Auberlen stands first by 20 points over Randy Pobst (Audi) in the Speed GT Driver's Championship, with Stuck fourth, Said sixth and Marks eighth.

Paul Mumford in a Dodge Viper won the 28-lap contest around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit by .745 seconds over Auberlen.

Today's race is scheduled to be broadcast on Speed Channel on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The last two rounds of the 2003 Speed GT season begin with Round 9 during the Petit Le Mans weekend at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., on Oct. 17. The final Round 10 race is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 24-26 in Puerto Rico.

BILL AUBERLEN, NO. 7 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (second): "I pushed as hard as I could. Because of the weight we are now carrying the tires went off very quickly and substantially reduced the handling advantage of the BMW M3. I had to fight for every spot today."

HANS STUCK, NO. 8 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fourth): "In the beginning of the race I was being held up so I had to be quite careful. I moved up slowly and had a very good restart after the yellow. At the end I was able to pass the yellow Viper by a very tough maneuver."

BORIS SAID, NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fifth): "Not a bad day, but it is very obvious that the BMW M3s have to work much harder. I tried to hold my position, but it is very hard to do when most everyone can drive past you. No matter how they try to equalize Team PTG with the rest of the field we will fight to come out on top."

JUSTIN MARKS, NO. 80 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (eighth): "It was a difficult race as we have lost a lot of our handling advantage. I went as fast as I could and was able to move up two spots."

BRYCE MILLER, NO. 81 PTG M3 (16th): "I was concerned about our race set-up even before the SCCA added the 150 pounds to my car after yesterday's qualifying session. With only the one hardship lap this morning we were not really given an opportunity to adapt properly. When the tires started to go off the car became very difficult to handle. All in all, it was a very successful start with Team PTG."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "It is very difficult to swallow a situation where the best team is slowed down for the rest of the field. It is only because BMW Team PTG is as well prepared as it is that we were able to extend our lead in the championship."

RICHARD BREKUS, MANAGER PRODUCT PLANNING AND STRATEGY, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC: "Bill drove a fantastic race and kept the pressure on despite carrying the weight penalty. You can see the toll the weight is taking on our cars. We are reaching the limit on what we can take. Nevertheless, we gave a great show for all the BMW Car Club members who are always at Laguna Seca to cheer us on and we extended our lead in the Championship."

-bmw-

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Series PWC
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Justin Marks , Paul Mumford , Bryce Miller