Joey Hand and Dirk Müller in their BMW Team RLL M3 finished second in the GT Class in the American Le Mans Series race on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. The class win went to the Falken Tire Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers.
RLL’s Bill Auberlen was taken out of the lead and a likely victory when his car was spun by the Corvette of Tommy Milner, Auberlen's 2010 ALMS BMW teammate. Dirk Werner had taken the pole and led early in the race until Henzler passed him just before the half-hour mark in the two-hour enduro. Auberlen took over at the 45-minute mark, exiting the pits just before a full-course yellow came out. Milner, who had pitted on the same lap as Auberlen, tried to pass the BMW for the class lead, but he braked far too late and spun the M3. Auberlen recovered, falling to eighth, but moving up to fifth in class at the finish. Milner was given a 60-second stop-and-go penalty for avoidable contact.
Sellers took the lead after Auberlen’s spin, and Müller moved up to second. He stayed there for the balance of the race, never running close enough to catch the Porsche. (Text continues after photo)
The finish of Hand and Müller extended their lead in the drivers’ championship over Baltimore third place finishers Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin of Corvette, and also extended BMW’s lead in manufacturers’ points and Team RLL’s lead in team points. Werner and Auberlen remain third in drivers’ points.
The Baltimore race was the first on a new 2.1-mile downtown street course, bordered by the city’s Inner Harbor on one side and the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards stadium on the other. While the event had many of the growing pains anticipated from the start-up of such a massive undertaking (including a long full-course yellow to reseal a manhole cover that came up during the race), it appeared to be successful. There were several good passing zones on the circuit and there were huge crowds. The weekend on the new circuit continues with an Indy Car race on Sunday.
The ALMS series returns to competition at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks, and then closes its season with the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta on October 1.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News