After Six Hours: Exciting Start to the Daytona 24 Hours; BMW Team RLL Running in Sixth and Seventh in GTLM

Daytona (US), 25th January 2014. The 24-hour race of Daytona (US) is on: The number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM, driven by Dirk Müller (DE), John Edwards (US), Dirk Werner (DE) and Graham Rahal (US) is running sixth in the GTLM cate­gory after six hours. Bill Auberlen (US), Andy Priaulx (GB), Joey Hand (US) and Maxime Martin (BE) hold seventh place in the opener of the maiden United SportsCar Cham­pi­onship (USCC) season.   At 2:47 hours into the race the endurance classic had to be red-flagged for more than an hour following a serious acci­dent between Ferrari’s Matteo Malu­celli (IT) and Corvette driver Memo Gidley (US). At the wheel of his Daytona proto­type, Gidley hit Malucelli’s car, which was running slowly on the outside line, at high speed. Both drivers were trans­ported to the nearby Halifax Health Medical Center.   In the GTD cate­gory, BMW works driver Augusto Farfus (BR) is ranked 21st along with his fellow Turner Motor­sport drivers Paul Dalla Lana (CA), Dane Cameron (US) and Markus Palt­tala (FI) in the BMW Z4 GTD. A colli­sion early in the race had cost the yellow number 94 car several places.   Mean­while, the drivers are racing in the dark at the “Daytona Inter­na­tional Speedway”. Martin is currently on duty at the wheel of the number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM, while Werner is driving the number 56 car.

Andy Priaulx (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM): “We didn’t take any risks, just circu­lated consis­tently and stayed out of trouble. It is clear to see we are not the fastest out there, so we are just going to stay out of trouble to be there at the end and see what we can pick up in the last hour. Obvi­ously it was a strange session due to the acci­dent and the long stop­page out on the track. You never want to see another driver have an acci­dent, so I am certain all of us drivers are thinking of the two guys and hoping they are okay.”  
Bill Auberlen (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM): “The start was pretty crazy, cars were spin­ning, I just had to avoid the acci­dents and that put us back a bit. We came up nice and easy, as we don’t want to do anything crazy right now. Even­tu­ally, because of the strategy we were on, we led six laps. Now we are just waiting for it to come our way.”
Dirk Müller (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM): “The start was fantastic. I came from P7 and by the first corner I was P3, that was lovely and I liked it. After­wards we lost a little bit, as it’s not so easy to keep up with the other guys. Never­the­less the car is going fine with no prob­lems. We are having our own speed we want to go, and so far every­thing is running to plan, so let’s see where we are at the end. I hope that the two drivers involved in the acci­dent were not seri­ously injured.”
Graham Rahal (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM): “That acci­dent was nasty. I hope that both drivers are okay. As far as our race is concerned, we knew we would struggle with straight line speed here. But in this race there’s still a long, long way to go. I’m happy with my pace during my stint, and I had a nice fight with a Porsche. However, it’s not so much about the pace, as it’s more impor­tant to get through the traffic well.”