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      08-17-2009, 12:23 PM   #1
Jason
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Drives: E90 M3
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Thumbs up BMW Rahal Letterman's M3s take 1st and 2nd place at ALMS GT2 @ Road America

Massive amount of photos: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=292920

BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team scored its first victory in its first year of a partnership that saw Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen lead a 1-2 GT2 finish for the new BMW M3. Auberlen and Hand gained nearly a full lap on the rest of the field on an early-race wave-by when John Baker in one of ORBIT Racing’s Challenge class Porsches went off at Turn 12.

That was all they needed for BMW’s first victory in the American Le Mans Series since Petit Le Mans in 2001.

“I can hardly remember that far back,” said Auberlen, who was part of that lineup with Hans Stuck and Boris Said. “We have a new group of people that are so skilled. You give them enough time to develop the car and they’ll make it happen. Dunlop, our tire partner, has been working so hard. We were fast at Mid-Ohio and it didn’t go our way.

“There are three gigantic straightaways and the BMWs are known not to have such great straightline speed. But on the long radius corners and with 50-50 weight distribution, the car is so balanced and really dances through. The Porsches and Corvettes seemed to be struggling through some of those corners.”

Dirk Mueller and Tommy Milner placed second in their BMW M3, and the Corvette Racing’s Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen placed third in their Corvette C6.R. The E85-powered car also won the GT portion of the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge for the second straight event.

But the weekend belonged to BMW. The M3s were quickest in all four testing and practice sessions, qualified on pole and posted the fastest GT2 race lap.

“Bill and I called this one to ourselves,” said Hand, a first-time winner who also earned his first pole position Saturday. “We’ve been talking it up pretty well here. We felt like we had a good chance to win at Mid-Ohio but got hit by a prototype and we were really good at Lime Rock. It all starts when the car gets off the truck. I can’t say enough about the guys at BMW Rahal Letterman Racing. It came exactly as we thought it would. Once I got in the car, we basically had a lap in hand, and my job was not to get hit and not fall too far behind.” --- http://www.americanlemans.com/index_news.php?n=13600