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BMW TEAM PTG M3s 1-2 IN VIR
BMW TEAM PTG M3s 1-2 IN VIR 400 TO SCORE EIGHTH GT WIN OF SEASON
Alton, VA - October 4, 2004... BMW Team PTG scored its eighth Rolex Sports Car Series GT-class victory and third 1-2 BMW M3 finish of the season in the VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, October 3. The win moves BMW to an eight point lead over Porsche in the Manufacturer Points and three BMW Team PTG Drivers to the top-three positions in the Driver Points.
Bill Auberlen and Justin Marks, driving the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3, completed 74 laps in the 400 kilometer race around the 3.27-mile Virginia International Raceway, finishing almost one lap ahead of the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 of Boris Said and Joey Hand.
The win was Auberlen's seventh of the season and his first since setting a record six wins in a row in Rounds 2 through 7. Marks has now tallied three wins, all co-driving with Auberlen.
Said and Hand's second-place finish was their second podium finish of the season. The duo shared a win in Round 8. Said shared four wins with Auberlen in Rounds 2 through 5.
BMW Team PTG drivers have secured the top-three positions in the Driver Points with Auberlen continuing to lead by four points over Said. Marks' win moves him to third. Hand stands in sixth place.
Tom Milner and Gunnar Jeannette drove a third M3 in the race, but the No. 16 BMW Team PTG M3 was retired on lap 33 with a broken oil line. In Saturday's qualifying session, 18-year old Milner, son of BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner, won the team's eighth pole of the season in scoring his first professional sports car racing pole position.
Auberlen made a great start in the No. 21 M3 from his fourth starting position and passed the No. 16 M3 of polesitter Milner on the opening lap. Said, starting from the very last starting position after his No. 22 M3 failed post-qualifying inspection, moved up quickly and by lap 14 was in fourth. All three M3s were pitted for fuel and tires during the first caution period on lap 16, with only the No. 16 M3 switching drivers. At the one-hour mark Auberlen continued to lead with the No. 22 M3 in third and the No. 16 M3 fourth. Jeannette retired the No. 16 M3 on lap 33. Some 10 laps later both M3s pitted for fuel, tires and a drivers change. Marks and Hand pitted for fuel only on lap 54 and ran one-two for the remainder of the contest.
The penultimate round of the Rolex Sport Car Series will be the Barber 250 at The Park at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on October 8-10. The race will be televised live on Speed Channel at 1:00 p.m. ET on October 10th.
BILL AUBERLEN, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (first):
"In qualifying we just let the No. 21 M3 get away from us a little and missed the set-up. The guys worked hard and today we were almost one second faster than the pole time - in race conditions - showing how good BMW Team PTG is."
JUSTIN MARKS, DRIVER NO. 21 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (first):
"When the rain began to fall towards the end of the race I knew it was not going to be easy. On each lap the rain was coming down on different parts of the circuit, in different intensities. We had a little bit of everything thrown at us today, including a big wreck in front of me that caused me to run off the track. I had to pit twice in the last 10 laps to clean grass from the grille, but the guys were ready and we held onto our win."
BORIS SAID, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (second):
"Our first pit stop was affected by the overall leading Daytona Prototype not electing to pit under the yellow. We pitted, but when he stayed out we lost a lap. I had moved the No. 22 up, but we still did not have the track position to take advantage of that yellow. The M3 was flawless, but we just could not completely capitalize on it today."
JOEY HAND, DRIVER NO. 22 BMW TEAM PTG M3 (second):
"Boris did a great job today in coming from last to third before I got in the No. 22 M3. We had an infraction in qualifying that cost us big, but we did not let it get to us. Everyone re-doubled their efforts and just stayed focused. Both Justin and I got lucky and missed the big wreck. After that it was just a matter of concentrating on the slippery conditions and holding my position."
TOM MILNER, OWNER, BMW TEAM PTG:
"Everyone did a great job this weekend and we've regained the points margin we had lost in the last round at Homestead. I am pleased with the performance of the new No. 16 M3 and except for the oil line problem I think Tom and Gunnar could have had an excellent finish to add to Tom's pole. Only three days to ready the cars for Barber so it is fortunate that the oil line was our only problem."
HERNANDO CARVAJAL, MOTORSPORT MANAGER, BMW OF NORTH AMERICA, LLC:
"We ran in front almost the entire race and the results show a third BMW Team PTG M3 1-2 finish, but it was not an easy victory. The conditions changed throughout the race and the last 10 laps were very exciting when the rain started to fall. After failing to reach the podium at Homestead it is great to see that the BMW Team PTG M3s were ready for anything today."
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