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Road America: BMW qualifying notes

All-BMW M3 front row at Road America; Bill Auberlen and Hans Stuck to lead the field on Sunday. Picking right up where he left off in Round 6, BMW Team PTG driver Bill Auberlen recorded his third-consecutive and fourth pole position of...

All-BMW M3 front row at Road America; Bill Auberlen and Hans Stuck to lead the field on Sunday.

Picking right up where he left off in Round 6, BMW Team PTG driver Bill Auberlen recorded his third-consecutive and fourth pole position of the season in today's damp-but-drying 30-minute qualifying session for Round 7 of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Auberlen - a three-time winner this season - recorded a 2:18.433 lap around the 4.0-mile circuit in his No. 7 BMW Team PTG M3. He collects two important bonus points in the Driver's Championship standings - one for the pole and one more for a top-five starting position to consolidate his lead over Randy Pobst.

Hans Stuck will start next to Auberlen in his No. 8 BMW Team PTG M3 after a 2:18.767 lap for his best starting position of the year.

Boris Said will start just behind Stuck in fourth (2:19.165) and Justin Marks, struggling with a balky gear box in the spare Team PTG M3, will start 11th (2:21.362).

At the end of this morning's 45-minute practice session BMW Team PTG drivers stood fifth (Said, 2:19.817), sixth (Bill Auberlen, 2:19.863), ninth (Hans Stuck, 2:20.399) and 12th (Justin Marks, 2:20.730) in the combined practice standings.

BMW currently leads the Speed GT Manufacturer's Championship by 12 points over Audi and Bill Auberlen stands atop the Speed GT Driver's Championship. Hans Stuck is fourth, Justin Marks fifth and Boris Said sixth.

BMW Team PTG has combined for four poles, three wins, five podium and 17 top-10 finishes this season in Speed GT.

Tomorrow's 50-minute, standing-start race is scheduled to start at 11:20 a.m.

BILL AUBERLEN, NO. 7 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (first): "It may not have been the best thing to go out right away on dry tires, but I did not want to take the risk that someone would wreck or put oil or gravel down and ruin the session for us. I put lap after lap on the tires - which again is not the best thing to do - as the track dried. Traffic finally opened up for one lap and I got one good lap. Road America is a great place to race as you have to be on the ragged edge everywhere. If you want to be quick here you have to push every part of every corner and we will have to do that for 18 straight laps tomorrow to win."

HANS STUCK, NO. 8 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (second): "I started on wet tires even though I knew that the track was drying quickly. It is very important under damp conditions to know where any slippery spots may be. As soon as I made two laps I came in for my dry tires. The plan was to do one timed lap and come in to save the tires for the race. Everything worked out perfectly. The setup is fabulous and I am very happy to start on the front row. Tomorrow it is pedal-to-the-metal."

BORIS SAID, NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fourth): "I went out on rains and made one lap to make sure of the track conditions. I think I could have been faster, but we have a few brake issues to work on tonight. That was the best I could do today, but we will be ready to go faster tomorrow."

JUSTIN MARKS, NO. 80 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (11th): "Coming to grips with the new car was made even more difficult by transmission problems. In order to race hard tomorrow I think the crew will have to have a close look at the gearbox tonight. I am starting higher than I anticipated and I believe I can still have a good finish tomorrow."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG: "The speeds on the straights still show that we are as much as six miles an hour slower than the Porsche, Audi and Corvette. Clearly the M3s are making up for that disadvantage in the corners because of its superior braking and handling. We are as fast as we are because of both our cars and our drivers. The session was not totally dry and the track temperatures were down and that worked in our favor. Certainly there is always a little bit of luck involved and I am very pleased with our first all-M3 front row of the year."

-bmw-

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Series PWC
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Justin Marks