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Road Atlanta II: BMW Team PTG GT race notes

BMW holds on to Speed GT Mfrs. points lead after tough Road Atlanta BMW Team PTG experienced its most disappointing day of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship season in Round 9 of 10 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., today. With ...

BMW holds on to Speed GT Mfrs. points lead after tough Road Atlanta

BMW Team PTG experienced its most disappointing day of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship season in Round 9 of 10 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., today.

With mechanical problems striking Bill Auberlen and Hans Stuck and Boris Said being hit by a competitor in the 27-lap race, BMW's lead in the Manufacturer's Championship was diminished and Bill Auberlen lost the lead in the Driver's Championship.

After starting from his third qualifying position and running a strong fourth in his BMW Team PTG M3, Auberlen experienced his first retirement of the season on lap 13. He was credited with a 25th-place finish after having to pit with a broken axle. He dropped to second in the Driver's Championship standings.

The best finish of the day was recorded by the newest Team PTG M3 driver, Justin Marks. He won the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for moving from his 13th starting spot to finish seventh.

Hans Stuck quickly moved from his seventh starting position to challenge for third, but was sidelined by a throttle problem on lap 4. He had to pull off the track and cycle his M3's power in order to restore the electronics. He began a charge back to the front and made it to 12th before a yellow flag on lap 22 ended his chances to move up any further as the race ended under a full-course caution.

Boris Said also experienced problems on lap 4 when he was hit by a competitor and spun. Like Stuck, he drove hard back through the field to finish 10th.

Randy Pobst in an Audi won the race on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn circuit by .458 seconds over the Porsche of Mike Fitzgerald.

With nine of 10 races completed, BMW leads the Speed GT Manufacturer's Championship by one point over Audi. Auberlen stands second in the Speed GT Driver's Championship, with Stuck fifth, Said sixth and Marks eighth.

Today's race is scheduled for broadcast on Speed Channel on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The final Round 10 race is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 24-26 in Puerto Rico.

JUSTIN MARKS, NO. 80 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (seventh):

"We were a bit loose in qualifying so we tried to set up the car before the race to compensate for the oversteer. My M3 was great for the first few laps, but unfortunately returned to understeer. The developing push made it impossible to gain a few more places before the race went yellow. All things considered I scored some points, but it was a tough day for the team."

BORIS SAID, NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (10th):

"The race turned out to be quite an unfortunate set of circumstances. Early on a Viper drove into me and bent the left rear suspension and wheel, spinning me around. The suspension held up and the wheel held air so I clawed back to 10th. To come back that far is good, but it was just one of those days."

HANS STUCK, NO. 8 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (12th):

"I went quickly from seventh to fourth in the early laps, but lost the throttle coming onto the back straight. I had to pull off the track and shut the power off and back on to restore it. I think I passed about 15 cars to come back to 12th. It is a pity that the race ended under yellow as I think I could have moved up a bit more."

BILL AUBERLEN, NO. 7 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (25th):

"This has to be one of my most disappointing racing days ever. We kept BMW in the lead in the Manufacturer's Championship because we had enough of a margin that we could not be passed at this race, but the last race in Puerto Rico will decide the year. We will be ready."

HERNANDO CARVAJAL, M BRAND MANAGER, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC:

"It was a very disappointing day for the team as three of the drivers experienced either mechanical problems or had track incidents. They all tried hard to achieve a good result for the team, but unfortunately their effort could not be translated into championship points. We must now focus on the next race as both titles will be decided there."

-bmw-

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