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Apr 14, 2012
BMW Team RLL at Long Beach; Four Years – Four Podiums
Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – April 14, 2012…
With a second place GT class finish by the No. 56 BMW Team RLL M3 GT in today’s American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race, BMW is tied for the manufacturer’s point lead. The second podium of the young ALMS season for Joey Hand and Dirk Müller solidifies their lead in the driver’s standings.
The defending GT driver co-champions started the race from the class pole with Hand at the wheel of the No. 56 BMW M3 GT. Hand led the race for the opening 16 laps until a prototype ran into him causing a puncture of the right rear tire. Hand pitted for fuel and four new tires, returning to the race in the seventh position. The race’s only caution period brought him back to the pits on lap 41 where Bobby Rahal made a bold strategic move to not change tires and jump the field in the pits to send the BMW Motorsport driver out in the lead. Müller lost the lead, but drove a strong stint to extend BMW Team RLL’s Long Beach podium streak to four years.
Teammates Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller, driving the No. 55 M3 GT, finished out of the points in 11th. Müller, making his first start at Long Beach, was the victim of a first lap accident that forced him to the pits for lengthy repairs to replace the radiator. He returned 13 laps down to the leaders, but put his head down, setting some of the fastest laps of that part of the race. He handed off to Auberlen during the race’s only caution period and the Californian, who podiumed here in both 2009 and 2010, did not disappoint his home race fans as he circulated at a very fast pace until the checkered flag.
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