BMW Team RLL Qualifies on Top at Wet, Slippery Circuit of the Americas
Joey Hand scores pole, John Edwards fourth.
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Sept. 20, 2013 . . . Joey Hand, driving the No. 55 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE, topped the GT class in today’s qualifying session for Saturday’s inaugural American Le Mans Series race at the Circuit of the Americas. The session was held during a slight break in the rain that had been falling the entire day. The BMW Team RLL Z4 GTEs were both shod with Michelin wet-weather racing tires. Hand’s pole time (2:17.178 minutes) came on his second timed lap of the 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit and is the third pole for the team this season (Lime Rock Park, Baltimore, COTA). Substituting for Maxime Martin this weekend, Hand will co-drive with long-time teammate Bill Auberlen.
John Edwards qualified the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE fourth, with a 2:18.002 minute lap. He will co-drive with Dirk Müller who is in a battle for the GT driver’s championship, currently standing only eight points from the class leaders.
“In the rain, it says a lot about the driver and the handling of the car, so it’s kind of a great equalizer,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We’re about 5-mph slower down the straight than the Viper and the Corvette, so that equalizer helps. I hate to say it but I partly hope it rains tomorrow. Tomorrow will be very tough, but it’s a good handling course with tough corners. We’ll keep working on the car and we should be competitive.”
Joey Hand, driver No. 55 Z4 GTE – (P1) – “My DTM boys over at BMW Team RBM say, ‘I wish I was Joey Hand,’ and today it feels good to be Joey Hand. I’m happy to be here with BMW Team RLL, my race track family for six years now. I wasn’t planned to do this race… they asked me if I wanted to do it and I said absolutely. On a program where the team knows how to win, you never turn down an opportunity to drive for them. Of course I’m excited to get back in the car with Bill Auberlen, a guy that taught me a lot since I’ve been racing for BMW. We were both kind of giddy to get back in the car together and having the chance to win. We haven’t won together since 2009 but we sure enjoy it when it happens.”
John Edwards, driver No. 56 Z4 GTE – (P4) – “We knew there was some more rain coming, so I think we made the safe choice for qualifying setup, but not the fastest choice. We know the Z4 is fast in the wet, and even though I feel disappointed with fourth, I know we’re in better shape than we would have been if qualifying had been dry.”
Follow BMW Team RLL on Twitter at @BMWUSARacing for “from-the-pit-box” updates all weekend. Live streaming of the race can be found on ESPN3.com beginning at 3:45 p.m. CT. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN2 television at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 22nd. ALMS.com will stream in-car footage throughout the race and the full live feed for international views. More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com and www.alms.com.
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