Dirk Müller and John Edwards, driving the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE, scored a third place finish in Saturday’s four-hour American Le Mans Monterey race. A second consecutive podium finish for the No. 56 machine in only the third race of the new program and a win for the No. 55 car at Long Beach keeps BMW in second place in the manufacturer point standings in the GT class and moves Müller to the top of the GT class driver points.
“Certainly today was a bitter sweet one." said Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL) "I’m sorry to see Bill and Maxime have to retire after fighting back from a lap down. Dirk is on top now and John had a very strong race. It is very hard to combat an obvious speed differential to many of our competitors, but we will keep fighting every day.”
Müller started the car from eighth on the grid and by lap 27 had moved up to fourth. Just past the first hour, on lap 45, he moved to third and stayed there until handing over to Edwards on lap 57 during the races third caution period. Edwards remained in third until what could only be considered as the move-of-the-race gave him second with an in-an-out dodge through slower traffic. A mistake on a restart cost him one spot, but he held onto third for his first ALMS podium finish.
“We certainly were able to carry the momentum from Long Beach to another podium here at Laguna Seca." said Müller "It is great to take the driver points lead, but it is so close, only single digits separate all of us now. I’m sorry Bill and Maxime could not finish the race.”
“The move was very intense." added Edwards "I’ve raced with Bryan (Sellers) a great deal in the GRAND-AM Continental Series and when we came up on traffic I got alongside him. When the traffic moved we had a little contact, but Bryan always races clean. I was able to take second from him, but unfortunately, I made a mistake on a restart getting a little greedy and he got the spot back. All-in-all, I am delighted to get my first ALMS podium.”
Unfortunately, the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin suffered a broken differential shortly after the mid-point of the race and had to retire on lap 85. Auberlen started the car from fifth and ran strongly in third for most of his first stint. A pit stop to replace damaged rear bodywork dropped him back one lap, but he was back on the lead lap before handing over to Martin on lap 83. Only two laps later Martin was back in the pits in a cloud of oil smoke and, ultimately, out of the race.
Following the traditional eight week break in the season for teams participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the 2013 American Le Mans Series will be held at Lime Rock Park on 6th July.
*From team media release
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