Turner Motorsport captured the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sports (GS) Driver and Team championships with a sixth place finish in Saturday's Grand-Am race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The title is the team's sixth professional championship and the result was instrumental in securing BMW a second consecutive GS Manufacturer crown.
Paul Dalla Lana and co-driver Boris Said needed only to finish 11th in the No. 96 M3 to win Dalla Lana his first professional racing championship and Turner Motorsport the Team title so the duo stayed with a conservatively aggressive plan throughout the two-and-one-half-hour race around the rolling 2.6-mile, 13-turn road course.
Dalla Lana started from the fifth position after his season's best qualifying effort. Pitting during the first of the race's seven caution periods Dalla Lana handed off to Said. Strategist Don Salama used the remaining yellows to the team's advantage, pitting Said at the right time to allow him to run as high as second and never less than 10th. A text book team effort, sixth place at the checkered flag was more than enough to secure the two championships. A significant contribution to Dalla Lana's championship was made by BMW ace Bill Auberlen who co-drove with Dalla Lana to five consecutive podiums, including a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to begin the season.
"This is a special year so we will make sure we celebrate Paul's championship with the same vigor with which we raced for it," said Will Turner. "On top of our team title, the entire Turner Motorsport team is pleased to have contributed so strongly to another Manufacturer's title for BMW. Our Continental program continues to go from strength to strength and our Rolex program has grown into quite a force this year. A large part of that is due to the hard work of our sponsor partners Cobalt, Continental Tires, Escort Radar, FORGELINE, H & R Springs and StopTech. It is hard to believe that testing for the 2012 season begins next month so we will soon be right back to work." The 2012 Grand-Am season begins during the 50th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 28-29.
The Continental race will be broadcast on SPEED TV on Sept. 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Photos by David Haueter
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