BMW Team RLL secured promising grid positions for the first race of the 2011 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Sebring (US) today. Dirk Werner (DE) finished third in the GT class, setting a lap time of 2:01.841 minutes at the wheel of the no. 55 BMW M3 GT in the 15-minute qualifying session for the classic 12-hour race in Sebring (US).

Driving the second BMW M3 GT (no. 56), Dirk Müller (DE) clocked a 2:02.139- minute lap at the 3.7-mile “Sebring International Raceway”, which put him fourth in the GT classifications. Ferrari’s Gianmaria Bruni (IT) secured pole position.

The opening round of the ALMS season gets underway on Saturday at 10:30hrs local time (14:30hrs GMT). Over the course of the 12-hour marathon Werner will share driving duties in the no. 55 BMW M3 GT with Bill Auberlen (US) and Augusto Farfus (BR). In the second car Müller will alternate with Joey Hand (US) and Andy Priaulx (GB).

bmw m3 gt2 2 17 31 655x435Bobby Rahal (Team Principal): “The first qualifying of the year absolutely went according to plan for us. From third and fourth on the grid, we can now head into the season opener optimistically. Confidence is a crucial factor in a 12-hour race. Obviously the car needs to be reliable, but you also need the full belief within your team that you can win. With the hard work put in over the winter we have laid the foundation to kick off our 2011 campaign successfully.”

Dirk Werner (Car number 55): “This is a fantastic result. The first qualifying session of the season always helps you to judge where you really stand compared to the opposition. It’s great to see the successful outcome of the intense development and testing work, as we are very close to the front-runners. In a 12-hour race, however, it’s not just the pure performance that counts. The reliability of the car must be good and we mustn’t do any mistakes. Third on the grid is a good starting point.”

Dirk Müller (Car number 56): “It was our goal to make it into the first two rows. It’s great we managed just that with both our cars. This shows how hard BMW Motorsport and the team worked in the past months. The race will be a big show, as the field is ultra-competitive and there are much more cars on the grid than last year.

Our first goal is to make it to the finish, as this race is very important due to the higher number of points that are up for grabs. Secondly we want to fight for victory after coming second and third in 2010. This will be an exciting affair.”

[Source: BMW ]