BMW Team RLL Takes Third and Fourth at Mid-Ohio

Lexington, Ohio – Aug. 6, 2011… It was rain won and BMW Team RLL three and four as rain proved to be the ulti­mate winner of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series Mid-Ohio Sports Car Chal­lenge. A torren­tial down­pour stopped the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute contest with 13 minutes remaining with Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner finishing third in the No. 55 M3 GT. Team­mates Joey Hand and Dirk Mϋller came home fourth in the No. 56 M3 GT for a second consec­u­tive race.

The finish keeps BMW on top in the GT Manu­fac­turer point stand­ings, BMW Team RLL in the Team points lead and Joey Hand and Dirk Mϋller at the top of the driver standing.

“It was a tough day for us”, said Bobby Rahal, Team Prin­cipal. “We had a bad first pit stop with the No. 56 M3 GT and that ulti­mately forced our hand with a strategy call which may have worked if it had not rained. Third and fourth is not a bad way to end today, but we always come to finish one-two.”

The team elected to start Mϋller in the No. 56 M3 GT after Hand qual­i­fied the car on the pole and he led the GT field across the line on the opening lap. Dirk Werner started the No. 55 M3 GT from the second spot, but was slowed by a LMPC car in the first turn and dropped to fifth. Mϋller dropped to third on lap two, but the two BMW Motor­sport drivers quickly recov­ered to hold the third and fifth posi­tions as the race began to develop. Mϋller moved up to second before both drivers pitted under green on lap 40.

Bill Auberlen replaced Werner in the No. 55 M3 GT and was able to jump Mϋller, who remained in the No. 56 car, in the pits. Unfor­tu­nately, the two tangled a few turns later and Auberlen was spun around. Mϋller continued on in third place with Auberlen drop­ping back to fourth.

As a few rain drops began to fall Mϋller pitted under green just past the 1:30 hour mark (lap 64) for Hand. With Dunlop rain tires ready if the rain inten­si­fied, the team elected to send Hand out on slicks.

The rain did begin only 22 minutes later with Hand pitting for rain tires on lap 76 and Auberlen following has team­mate in on lap 77. Yellow flags waved for a second time in the race just before the 2:00 hour mark slowing the field with Auberlen circu­lating in sixth and Hand in eighth.

When the green flag waved Hand had contact with the Ferrari to bring out the race’s third caution period. Hand was able to continue, but the rain inten­si­fied, making the track treach­erous when the green flag waved on lap 88.

Auberlen and Hand charged forward as competitor after competitor slid off the track reaching the third and fourth posi­tions before the fourth yellow flag waved. A red flag brought all the cars to the pits and ulti­mately an end to the race.

Round Six of the Amer­ican Le Mans Series, the Road Race Show­case, will be held at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on Saturday, August 20.