Road Atlanta (US), 30th September 2016. In the final qualifying session of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the GTLM field proved to be as fiercely-fought as ever: All cars finished within 0.8 seconds at Road Atlanta (US). Driving the number 100 BMW M6 GTLM, John Edwards (US) set the sixth-fastest time in class with a time of 1:18.382 minutes. He was just 0.251 seconds slower than Ford’s Richard Westbrook (GB) who secured pole position.
In the second BMW Team RLL car it was Bill Auberlen (US) who was on duty over the 15-minute qualifying session, setting a lap time of 1:18.752 minutes at the wheel of the number 25 car. Together with his team-mates Dirk Werner (DE) and BMW DTM driver Augusto Farfus (BR) he will start ninth on Saturday. Edwards will alternate at the wheel with Lucas Luhr (DE) and Kuno Wittmer (CA) in the ten-hour race. Petit Le Mans will go green at 11:10hrs local time.
In the GTD category, BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (DE), Bret Curtis (US) and Ashley Freiberg (US) in the number 96 BMW M6 GT3 came ninth after Curtis posted a time of 1:22.421 minutes. Their Turner Motorsport team-mates Michael Marsal (US), Markus Palttala (FI) and Cameron Lawrence (US) had to make do with 12th in the number 97 sister car.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):
“That was not bad. It is all close, as we are sixth with John, a tenth off P2, and on a two and a half mile race track that is not a lot. Also Bill is not too far back, and is right there with us. As we have seen in these races, it really doesn’t matter where you qualify, because it is all going to come down to having to stay out of trouble, the balance tomorrow and being fast at night when everything starts to cools off. It looks like we are going to have nice weather, so that is good for this car. I am pretty happy with where we are, as we are right in the thick of it.”
John Edwards (Number 100 BMW M6 GTLM, 6th place):
“You have to look at the times to understand that our qualifying session went fairly well compared to the last couple of events, as we are closer than we have been. To only be a couple of tenths off in qualifying is a nice bonus for us. We still start P6, when we would prefer to be a little closer to the front, but with ten hours to go and a good race car I think we are in a great spot.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 25 BMW M6 GTLM, 9th place):
“Although our starting position is at the back of the GTLM field, I am very happy with how well our BMW M6 GTLM has progressed this weekend. It is running well and handling great – only some six-tenths of a second from the class pole position.”