USRRC: PTG BMW M3s To Start 2-3 at Daytona
30 January 1999Bill Auberlen qualified the No. 10 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 four-door on the front row in the GT3 class and Boris Said was one spot behind in the No. 6 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 four-door in final qualifying today for this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. Auberlen, who was fourth in Friday's opening qualifying session, drove a fast lap of 1 minute, 57.220 seconds (an average of 109.333 mph) over the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway oval/road course. It was the fastest GT3 time of the day, but did not surpass the time of 1:56.516 (109.99 mph) set by the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 on Friday. Auberlen, however, was a half-second faster than he was on Friday. He'll share the No. 10 PTG BMW M3 with Hans Stuck (named to drive for the entire season by BMW and the PTG team today), Johannes Van Overbeek and Brian Cunningham. Said recorded a fast time of 1:57.358 (109.204 mph) in final qualifying, good for third on the GT3 grid. He'll co-drive with NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Ernie Irvan, Mark Simo, Peter Cunningham and Dieter Quester in the twice-around-the-clock season-opening event, which starts at 1 p.m. EST Saturday.
A trio of privateer BMW M3s also qualified among a total of 35 GT3 entrants, the largest class of the 83-car field. The No. 17 BMW M3 of Aspen Knolls Racing is sixth on the grid after a fast time of 1:58.285 (108.34 mph). A pair of Bell Motorsports BMW M3s sit eighth and 25th on the GT3 grid, the No. 54 M3 qualifying in 1:58.564 (108.09 mph), and the No. 45 M3 in 2:05.078 (102.46 mph).
AUBERLEN, SAID SET TO LEAD OFF IN PTG BMW M3 TEAM DRIVER ORDER
Bill Auberlen and Boris Said are scheduled to start in their respective Nos. 10 and 6 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 four-doors on Saturday. Auberlen will be followed by Hans Stuck, Brian Cunningham and Johannes Van Overbeek in the No. 10 PTG BMW M3. Said will be followed by Peter Cunningham, Ernie Irvan, Mark Simo and Dieter Quester in the No. 6 PTG BMW M3.
ESPN2 TO TELEVISE 10 HOURS LIVE; WWW.PTGRACING.COM PROVIDES ONGOING COVERAGE
ESPN2 begins its coverage of the Rolex 24 at Daytona with its "On the Grid" show at 12:30 p.m. EST, and will show the first three hours of the race before going going off the air at 4 p.m. EST. ESPN2 coverage resumes Sunday at 7 a.m. EST and continues through victory circle festivities, concluding at 1:30 p.m. EST. The PTG BMW M3 team's official web site (www.ptgracing.com) will provide live timing and scoring updates and other information throughout the race.
BILL AUBERLEN, No. 10 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 Four-Door - "How you see us today is how we're going to be for the race. We have two strong M3s. The track slowed down a bit since yesterday and this morning. I'm really looking forward to going out there and racing for the win starting tomorrow. It's great that we have the same crew, a lot of the same drivers, and the cars and tires that have won this race two years in a row."
BORIS SAID, No. 6 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 Four-Door - "We had engine (overheating) problems yesterday, but now, with a new motor in our car, both of our team cars are equal. I ran relatively easy today and was 2 seconds faster (per lap) than I was yesterday. We've got the cars just right. Let's go, we're ready to have some fun!"
PETER CUNNINGHAM, No. 6 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 Four-Door - "I think everything looks great. Both M3s are ready to go. We're looking forward to digging in for the long haul. Last year, even with the problems we had, like getting hit by another car in the middle of the night and having to battle back from that, we did a record number of laps (657). Of course, what matters most is to win your class. If circumstances are that you can then finish high overall, and record a record number of laps, that's a big bonus."
TOM MILNER, PTG Team Owner -"We're where we want to be. This is the race pace we should run at. It'll be a difficult race, obviously. There are a lot of very good Porsches, especially from the standpoint of reliability. The race will ask everything of our team and our cars, so we will have to be at our very best. Just because we won the last two years in a row means nothing. Actually, it means we can do it again, but in a 24-hour race, there are no guarantees."