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Sebring: BMW Team PTG race notes

BMW Team PTG debuts with fourth and fifth in World Challenge GT Class at Sebring: Stuck gives ultimate drive. Hans Stuck and Bill Auberlen finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in BMW Team PTG's debut race in Round 1 of the 2003 SCCA Pro ...

BMW Team PTG debuts with fourth and fifth in World Challenge GT Class at Sebring: Stuck gives ultimate drive.

Hans Stuck and Bill Auberlen finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in BMW Team PTG's debut race in Round 1 of the 2003 SCCA Pro Racing Speed GT Championship today at Sebring International Raceway.

Sports-car racing legend Stuck, driving the No. 8 BMW Team PTG BMW M3, gave a consummate performance in driving past all but the top three finishers after starting from the pit lane, finishing only 4.6 seconds from a place on the podium and 20.117 seconds from the lead. On the pre-grid the crew discovered a differential problem and, in their own virtuoso performance, changed the broken axle in less than 20 minutes.

Starting from the sixth grid position in the No. 7 BMW Team PTG M3, Bill Auberlen drove a strong race before a power steering failure and the resulting spin on lap nine dropped him from fourth to 11th. He drove a determined final nine laps to finish just behind Stuck in fifth.

Boris Said's No. 6 BMW Team PTG M3 had a brake problem on the presentation lap and was forced back to the paddock for repairs. He joined the race two laps down and finished 23rd.

BMW Team PTG heads to Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada on May 17-18 for Round 2 of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED GT Championship.

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

"It's unbelievable. I am so happy, I wouldn't mind crying. It is so emotional. This fourth place is like 10 wins in one. What a Friday afternoon. It couldn't be any better. Just all-out racing for 18 laps. And I learned a lot about the tires; I learned a lot about the brakes. I really was catching up to the Audi, but I think it would have taken me at least five more laps. He was playing it smart; you could see he was smoking. He knows what to do; he wouldn't throw it away."

YOU WERE ALMOST A SECOND QUICKER EACH LAP THAN THE THIRD-PLACE AUDI WAS: "I couldn't do anymore."

ON THE START FROM THE PIT LANE: "When the guy put his hands on the windscreen, I just rammed it into gear and went. I think I passed the first two cars in turn number two."

ON THE DIFFERENTIAL PROBLEM: "I went to the pre-grid -- can you believe it? -- and in the middle of the path I had to stop because of some people crossing the lanes. I put it in first gear and was rolling on again. And then, bang, the differential broke. So this was good luck that it didn't break at the start here. For sure we would have had no time to race. So we have a bellyful of points, which is very good for the championship."

ON THE BMW TEAM PTG GUYS WORKING TO GET THE CAR FIXED: "They are my absolute heroes now. To change an axle in less than 20 minutes; this is a world record. And, to be honest, I don't mind crying out because it's so emotional for me what those guys did. They're fabulous."

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

"It was tough. The start was good, then we moved up. We were right where we wanted to be. The pace was right where we wanted it to be. We could have moved slowly to the front, which was what I was doing, and then my power steering hose exploded and I spun in my own oil because it was going everywhere. I was in trouble at that point. Then I drove the rest of the race with no power steering and this was very hard. The oil just dumped all down onto my car. It took me two laps to get the oil to stop spraying on my tires and then I carried on as best as I could. This is probably one of the hardest stints I've ever had to do. Physically it was unbelievable. We survived it."

BORIS SAID, NO. 6 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (23rd):

"The weekend pretty much started off with a bang and we never recovered, from the crash coming out of pit lane the first day of testing, and today when we had a failure on the warm-up lap (locked front brake), and we got down two laps. I really didn't race; I just drove around. You can't make up a lap at Sebring, especially two, so I just drove around and put some miles on the car. It's going to be a great car; it just needs some development. Starting two laps down I didn't try to race anybody; it just wasn't my day today. When the leaders came up, I just pulled over and let them by."

TOM MILNER, OWNER BMW TEAM PTG:

"A broken differential in Hans' car and brake problems with Boris' car, but in the end I am not too unhappy. I will say that Hans Stuck did one incredible job. He did exactly what I expected him to do and that is why he is driving this car. Bill did an excellent job as well to finish fifth. This is the best we could do today, but I believe we are competitive, so we will look forward to Mosport."

-bmw-

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Series PWC
Drivers Boris Said , Bill Auberlen