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Road Atlanta: BMW GT race notes

Stuck's second at Road Atlanta extends BMW's lead in Speed GR manufacturer's championship. Hans Stuck's second-place and second straight podium finish in today's Round 5 of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship at Road Atlanta in ...

Stuck's second at Road Atlanta extends BMW's lead in Speed GR manufacturer's championship.

Hans Stuck's second-place and second straight podium finish in today's Round 5 of the SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., helped BMW establish its lead in the Speed GT manufacturer's championship to four points over Audi and seven points over Chevrolet. The 27-lap race around the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit was won by Mike Fitzgerald in a Porsche by 2.013 seconds over Stuck.

Never out of the top four all day, Stuck moved his No. 8 BMW Team PTG M3 from third into second on lap 25 when second-place Bill Auberlen was forced to pit because of a broken left rear wheel, after being hit by the Audi of Randy Pobst on the 23rd lap. The stop dropped Auberlen to a 10th place finish.

Nic Jonsson was moved to the last starting spot after qualifying in third place because the rear wing of his No. 9 BMW Team PTG M3 was found to be out of specification in post-qualifying inspection. He moved swiftly into the top 10, but was forced out of the race on lap 13 after being hit while passing a competitor.

Boris Said finished fourth in the No. 6 BMW Team PTG M3 and was never out of the top five.

Justin Marks moved up from his 12th starting spot to finish sixth in the No. 80 BMW Team PTG M3.

With five of 10 races completed, each of the BMW Team PTG drivers still stands in the top 10 in the Speed GT driver's championship, with Auberlen third, Stuck fourth, Marks sixth and Said eighth.

The race is scheduled to be broadcast on Speed Channel on Saturday, July 19, at 5 p.m. ET.

The Speed GT Championship moves to the west coast for Round 6 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on July 25-27.

In 1996 BMW Team PTG scored its first BMW M3 endurance racing victory at Infineon Raceway (nee Sears Point International Raceway).

HANS STUCK: NO. 8 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (second):
"I knew that my M3 would be good at the end of the race and it worked out perfectly. My thanks to Tom (Milner) for the help with the set-up and the team for the hard work. This is the kind of racing I like - door-to-door from the start to the finish."

BORIS SAID: NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (fourth):
"I lost a little bit of time in the opening laps and then caught traffic and could not make it up. I feel that I was just a tick off this weekend. We did lose some time in testing chasing a problem, but I don't think that was it. I think I need to spend some time on the plane thinking about what I can do better. We are going to Infineon Raceway and I had a pretty good weekend there last week (where he qualified on the pole for the Winston Cup race), so I have something to look forward to."

JUSTIN MARKS: NO. 80 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (sixth):
"I could maintain a good race pace, but traffic is always difficult in these races. I think I used my tires a little too much in the beginning and did not have enough at the end to move up any further. The M3 does not have a scratch on it and sixth is a good points day for us."

BILL AUBERLEN: NO. 7 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (10th):
"I am quite disappointed because I think the broken wheel should not have happened. I could have had second, but after I was hit the tire started to deflate and that was that."

NIC JONSSON: NO. 9 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (18th):
"I was moving up quite well. Just before the half-way point of the race I was into the top 10 and just after passing a Mustang I was hit by a Porsche on the right side of the car and while I could get the M3 back to the pits I could not continue."

TOM MILNER, BMW TEAM PTG OWNER:
"In the overall picture this was a good weekend for us, but in every battle sometimes you get wounded. With Hans' second place BMW extends its lead in the manufacturer's championship. Bill fell back in the driver's championship, but all four drivers are in the top eight spots. We will lick our wounds and get ready for the next battle at Infineon Raceway. That has been a great track for us over the years, so we are looking forward to next month."

RICHARD BREKUS, MANAGER PRODUCT PLANNING AND STRATEGY, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC:
"BMW Team PTG did the job in qualifying and the race, but I must say that the weekend was not completely satisfying. The outcome of both Bill's race and Nic's race was decided by incidents in which they appear to have been the victims. Racing is like that. Luckily, Hans was there to hold second and that helps us in the points standings, but BMW lost two good finishes."

-bmw-

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Drivers Nic Jönsson