BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Müller and Joey Hand finished fourth in the American Le Mans Series race at Virginia International Raceway, and their teammates, Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin, finished fifth.
Hand started the #56 Z4. He pitted on lap 36 to give the car to Müller, who ran in fourth and fifth for most of his stint. After dropping to fifth, he regained fourth with one lap left in the race to keep himself in contention for the ALMS GT class drivers’ championship behind #3 Corvette racers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. But the #3 Corvette’s third-place finish at VIR was enough to secure the GT manufacturers’ championship for Chevrolet and the GT team championship for Corvette Racing.
Maxime Martin placed the #55 Z4 on the GT class pole. Bill Auberlen started the car, and soon fell to fourth. Auberlen pitted during the race’s first caution period, and then had to pit again when a drivers’ side door hinge failed. The car lost two laps, but returned to the lead lap over the course of the race, running hard and taking advantage of the race’s multiple yellow flag periods, and eventually finishing fifth with Martin at the controls.
Müller said, “First of all, we’re still in the championship hunt, so big thanks to my buddy Joey Hand. We knew it would be tough from the very beginning, but then with all that yellow it came down to a sprint race at the end. So that’s how I drove; it was hard, tough racing and I made my move on the next-to-last lap, in the hairpin. That was the only chance I had, so I took it. Actually it feels like a victory because it kept the #3 car from running away in the championship. I’m very happy with this result.”
Matteo Malucelli and Olivier Beretta won the class in the Risi Competizione Ferrari, finishing ahead of Patrick Long and Colin Braun in the CORE Autosport Porsche.
The series finale, the ten hour Petit Le Mans Race at Road Atlanta, will be run on October 19.—Brian S. MorganBack to News