Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Oct. 5, 2013 . . . BMW Team RLL finished fourth and fifth in today’s 2.75-hour American Le Mans Series Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway. A spirited drive and great battle by Dirk Müller in the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE during the final minutes of the race secured the fourth-place finish to keep the BMW Motorsport driver second in Driver Championship point standings, now 16 points behind the leaders. The No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin finished fifth.
Competing in his last ALMS race of the season before returning to Germany to finish his second year of the DTM series, Joey Hand started the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE from the third position Müller earned in yesterday’s qualifying session. Hand pitted on lap 36 to turn the car over to Müller. Racing in the fifth position for the next 27 laps, Müller made a strong pass for fourth on lap 63. He lost the position 13 laps later, but regained it on the last lap of the race to post a hard-earned fourth-place finish.
The team decided pole winner Maxime Martin would finish the race, so Bill Auberlen started the No. 55 machine from the front of the 11-car GT field. He pitted during the race’s first caution period and ran as high as fourth in the opening minutes of the race. The fortunes of the No. 55 car turned worse as Auberlen’s left-side door hinge failed and forced a second stop just past the one-hour mark. Martin swapped into the seat and rejoined the race tenth, practically two laps behind the leaders. While the race’s pace was slowed by two more caution periods, Martin kept his head down and in the final 45 minutes of the race regained the lost laps and charged up five positions to finish fifth.
Posted: October 7, 2013, 5:34 pm
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