Tough doesn’t even begin to describe the day BMW Team RLL had at Lime Rock Park this past weekend at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. This was the first time a BMW Team RLL M3 GT didn’t reach podium on their home track. Fraught with gremlins and plain bad luck Team RLL had to fight twice as hard for championship points.
Joey Hand started the race in the No.56 Team RLL M3 GT from second but had to pit under the first race’s caution for left side tires and fuel, which dropped him back to 6th. Lap 62 saw a driver change, where Dirk Müller took over as Hand brought the car in on a punctured left front tire. Eight laps later, Müller returned to remove his hood after the mounting became loose and obstructed his view. Down a lap, Müller would remain in the car until the checkered flag dropped ultimately completing 159 laps.
Bill Auberlen qualified the No.55 BMW on GT class pole, but sadly Auberlen would have to start from the pits due to a leaky fuel cell. Once unleashed Auberlen set a new race record with a lap of 51.091 seconds in lap nine, likely due to his frustration dealing with a gremlin at the start of the race. Pitting under a green flag, Auberlen would hand the car over to Jörg Müller on lap 61. Jörg sadly would return only 14 laps later due to a punctured rear tire.
When all was said and done BMW Team RLL would finish in 5th (No. 56) and 6th (No.55). Joey Hand and Dirk Müller currently are third in driver points. “Today was one tough day,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “It was a long, hard day for us, but we scored points. We will need to finish in front of the Corvettes from here on out and that is going to be tough.”
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