BMW Team RLL Finish Third and Fourth at Laguna Seca

Racing | May 13th, 2012 by 9
alms-Laguna Seca-71

Although both BMW Team RLL M3 GT’s lead the GT class for a significant part of the six-hour American Le Mans Monterey race, they ultimately …

Although both BMW Team RLL M3 GT’s lead the GT class for a significant part of the six-hour American Le Mans Monterey race, they ultimately finished in the third and fourth positions.

Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller completed 232 laps of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit bringing the No. 55 BMW M3 GT home in third place, scoring their first podium together and delivering the team’s third consecutive podium of the season.

Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished just behind their teammates in fourth place. Both drivers were on the receiving end of aggressive contact by competitors during the race with Hand getting the worst of it while leading. Rear ended by the second place Corvette just past the mid-race mark the No. 56 M3 GT would ultimately lose the rear fascia and diffuser affecting the car’s aerodynamic balance for the remainder of the race.

BMW Team RLL Finish Third and Fourth at Laguna Seca

Slowed by multiple caution periods during the first five-and-one-half hours, the race was ultimately decided in the last 15 minutes after the green flag waved following the last full-course yellow of the contest. With Müller firmly in control of fourth, Auberlen restarted the No. 55 M3 GT from second. Before the experienced Californian could make a charge for the lead he was blocked by a prototype entering turn one allowing the third place Corvette to squeeze by for the second spot. Losing more ground on the exit of the corner he had to settle for third.

BMW now stands second in Manufacturer points. Hand and Müller are second in Driver points with Auberlen and Müller moving into a tie for fourth.

“Our competitors certainly are not making it easy,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We hung in there despite being hit many times and came away with valuable points.”

Bill Auberlen, driver No. 55 M3 GT (third):
“This was a six-hour race and we treated as a 45 minute sprint. It’s unreal how competitive this series has become. On the last restart I got hung out to dry by a prototype car and Magnussen took advantage of it. It is great to make the podium, but we still have two more steps to climb.”

Jörg Müller, driver No. 55 M3 GT (third):
“I am happy to be back at Laguna Seca. This was a brilliant week. This was not an easy race, but Bill and I leave with our first podium together.”

Joey Hand, driver No. 56 M3 GT (fourth):
“We really got knocked around today. Losing the rear bumper loosened the car up in a big way. The car got so free in the high speed stuff that Dirk and I really had to hang on and work hard. This championship is tightening up only three races in. We will leave in second place in the driver standing but a number of the tracks coming up have been very good to us.”

Dirk Müller, driver No. 56 M3 GT (fourth):
“Even though our car was damaged we still had the potential for a top-three finish, but just missed it. Congratulations to our teammates for their first podium of the season. I look forward to the next race at Lime Rock Park where Joey and I can try to regain the lead in driver points.”

Following the traditional break in the ALMS season for teams competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the series, the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, will be held at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. on July 7th.

[Source: BMW]

  • empower

    no mater what series bmw are in they have always had targets on there backs. in touring car racing such as the wtccc the front wheel drive cars would hit the rear and send them spinning. the first race in the dtm 4 out of 6 cars where hit hard hand in particular. but when its not other teams taking them out, they do it to them selfs . check out race 2 of the world super bike championship at donnington park. bmw had a 1-2 in the first race. in the 2 nd words fail me

    • MPower

      that was a heart break man! that was cause by the HONDA, taking out both BMW!

  • Giom

    It’s true. Our guys dont have to be so aggressive to win points, they race well honed and well prepared cars. Pitty they always gets shoved out of the way by the competition – no matter what the series. And still, they hold their heads high. You’ve got to respect that!
    What is to happen to the perpetrators? Ten position penalty for the next race, I hope. Probably nothing!

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  • Roland Renno

    This really something annoying as you already posted. Everytime BMW races with their M3s, the competition are so afraid and ram them. I wonder if this is done on purpose or not.

    • MPower

      you know, i really wounder the same thing as well. but this is one thing i really hope everyone did get the chance to see during the final 2 hours, “during the pit stops the crew member’s of both cars (m3) are moving toooooo relax!!!!, these guys walk around the cars instead of running”, look at the vett’s guys’s do their pit’s “its like they are trying to put out a wild fire”. it was because of that same fault why they lose the spot in the pit to the Vett’s # (4). Don’t get me wrong, in the final knockings of the race the m3s was the fastest cars on track. Another thing, why Bill always NOT defending his line, He made the same mistake twice in turn 1. Come on guys, you need to put on your game face and show them boys that we don’t need a supercar to kick them to the curve.

      BMW M POWER, for life)

      • Roland Renno

        Maybe you’re right, I didn’t have the chance to watch the race so I have to walk by what you said. The pit crew plays an important role and maybe that was significant. But why do other drivers hit our M3s in the back, whether it’s in DTM, LeMans or any other motor racing?

  • wazon8

    It’s solid return to DTM by BMW.

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