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Road Atlanta: BMW GT qualifying notes

Bill Auberlen scores second Speed GT pole of the season; BMW Team PTG M3s to start 1,3,4,6 and 12th at Road Atlanta BMW Team PTG driver Bill Auberlen recorded his second pole position of the season in today's 20-minute qualifying session for...

Bill Auberlen scores second Speed GT pole of the season; BMW Team PTG M3s to start 1,3,4,6 and 12th at Road Atlanta

BMW Team PTG driver Bill Auberlen recorded his second pole position of the season in today's 20-minute qualifying session for Round 5 of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

Auberlen, the winner of Rounds 3 and 4 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., one month ago, recorded a 1:31.110 lap around the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit in his No. 7 BMW Team PTG M3. The session was marked by the need to quickly change from rain tires to dry tires as the early morning rain subsided just before qualifying began and the fast line began to dry through the session.

Nic Jonsson, Auberlen's 2001 BMW Team PTG co-driver, will start the No. 9 BMW Team PTG M3 third (1:31.857), with Hans Stuck fourth (1:32.302) and Boris Said sixth (1:32.888). Justin Marks was the only PTG driver to stay on wet tires and dropped from sixth to 12th starting position (137.223) in the last minutes of the session.

The 50-minute Speed GT race is scheduled to start at 4:20 p.m. today.

BILL AUBERLEN, NO. 7 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (first): "Our car may have been a little too stiff for the wet conditions in the beginning of the session or I just don't get along with the rain tires here. As soon as I switched to the dry tires the grip was right there and I could drive harder. I don't think I got the best lap the M3 had in it, but it was good enough for the pole."

NIC JONSSON, NO. 9 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (third): "It feels like being home driving for Team PTG again and I appreciate Tom (Milner, team owner) giving me this opportunity to drive the spare M3 this weekend. I think that if I had come in a lap or two earlier for the dry tires I may have been faster, but I will start right behind Bill and next to Hans, so I am quite comfortable there."

HANS STUCK, NO. 8 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fourth): "We chose to come in early and change to the dry tires and the M3 was very good. I believe that I was at the top for most of the session. On my last lap I caught a slower car going into turn 1 and had to give up the dry line. That cost me some time, but I am pleased with fourth."

BORIS SAID, NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (sixth): "In the wet we were really good, but as the track dried I kept catching traffic and fell from second to sixth. It was just bad luck. I needed traffic in the middle of the session and clear laps at the end, but that's not the way it worked out."

JUSTIN MARKS, NO. 80 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (12th): "I had a very, very good wet set-up, but it kept drying throughout the session. Before it dried I was in the top five, but as the track dried and everyone switched to dry tires I stayed out on the wets as the pits were too congested to try and come in and change. The good news is that I feel confident that we have a good car for any conditions we find in the race."

TOM MILNER, BMW TEAM PTG OWNER: "It was difficult to make the right tire choice at the beginning of the session. We knew it would be a scramble to change over the tires on all five M3s, but the tire choice is really a driver's decision, so we were ready to change. We did not expect to get the pole here, but it is always nice to start in the front."

-bmw-

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Drivers Nic Jönsson