The no. 56 BMW M3 GT of Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (DE) finished second at the inaugural American Le Mans Series Baltimore Grand Prix to extend BMW Team RLL’s lead in Manufacturer, Driver and Team GT class championships. Starting from third, the duo completed 70 laps in the two-hour race at the temporary circuit running though the streets of Baltimore’s Inner Harbour.
The race ended in heartbreak for the pole-sitting no. 55 BMW M3 GT of Bill Auberlen (US) and Dirk Werner (DE) after an overzealous passing attempt by a competitor spun Auberlen from the lead 22 minutes into the second hour of the contest. Up to that point the car had never been further back than second, with Werner leading the first 18 laps of the race. A well-timed pit stop just before the race’s first caution period put Auberlen in the perfect position for their first win of the season, but it was not to be. The BMW ace battled back from eighth, ultimately finishing fifth, to remain third in the drivers’ points standings. Round eight of the American Le Mans Series will be held on 17th September at Laguna Seca Raceway.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal): “Obviously we are happy with a second place finish for the no. 56 BMW M3 GT, but the Corvettes certainly did not help our day. I am sorry that Dirk and Bill got punted from what would have been a great finish. Overall we have been consistently on the podium and that means good things for the Driver, Team and Manufacturer Championships! Now it’s onward to Laguna Seca Raceway.”
Joey Hand (car number 56): “The start was just chaotic. I just wanted to make sure I could bring our BMW M3 GT back without any more scratches, and to be able to hand over to Dirk a nice and straight car. It worked out quite okay, although I lost some time when I had to use the run-off in turn 1. I kept pushing to keep us close. While most of the others started having problems with their tyres, our Dunlops got better and better, so I managed to gain a lot of ground. Then Dirk finished the job in a fantastic way.”
Dirk Müller (car number 56): “We really don’t need to win races just now. All we need is big points compared to our direct rivals – and that’s what we managed today. This race was very hard to watch at the beginning. At this stage of the championship it’s essential not to risk too much. Joey didn’t fight, making sure we kept going in a strong position. For me it was a challenging affair then, and I really wanted to win this race. But again we didn’t want to risk too much, so we came home second, ahead of our direct competition. It was another amazing result. Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta are still to come – and I know that this is our year!”