PTG BMW M3 Leads After Four Hours

30 January 1999

PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP BMW M3 TEAM - SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 1999 Rolex 24 at Daytona - Daytona International Speedway - Daytona Beach, Fla.

AFTER FOUR HOURS

PTG BMW M3 LEADS GT3 IN THE EARLY GOING; OTHER TEAM CAR SIDELINED

The No. 6 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 four-door of Boris Said, Peter Cunningham, Ernie Irvan, Mark Simo and Dieter Quester was the GT3 leader after four hours of the 37th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona. The No. 10 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 four-door, however, encountered engine problems during the second hour and work continues in the garage to get the car back out on the track. Bill Auberlen, in the No. 10 PTG BMW M3, and Said, in the No. 6 team car, started the race from their second and third grid positions and followed the GT3 pole-sitting No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche for most of the first hour. After a round of pit stops just before the one-hour mark, Said emerged in the lead while Auberlen fell back to fourth after a slight delay in changing his right rear tire.

Shortly thereafter, about 10 minutes into the second hour, Auberlen pulled the No. 10 PTG BMW M3 off course with engine problems and the car was towed directly to the team garage. He completed 28 laps. Hans Stuck, Johannes Van Overbeek, and Brian Cunningham are Auberlen's co-drivers. The team plans to rejoin the race as soon as engine repairs are complete.

Said and Peter Cunningham had a near-perfect time during their back-to-back stints, completing 108 laps of the 3.56-mile oval/road course at Daytona International Speedway. Simo took over the wheel at the beginning of the fifth hour, the M3 leading the second-place No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche, which was on the same lap, the third-place No. 07 G&W Motorsports Porsche, and the third-place No. 17 T.C. Kline Racing BMW M3 that was two laps behind. The No. 54 Bell Motorsports BMW M3 was in ninth place in GT3, having completed 103 laps, and the No. 45 Bell Motorsports BMW M3 was in 19th place in GT3, having completed 91 laps.

BILL AUBERLEN, No. 10 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 Four-Door - "The car seemed to be going strong, when all of a sudden it went from full song to dead silence in no time flat. We brought it into the garage and it looked terminal, but the team is working hard to get back out on the track. It seems to be the same problem (camshaft) that we had a Watkins Glen last year. But it's through no fault of the PTG team. They performed flawlessly so far, as have the Yokohama tires. We managed to work our way into the lead in the early going, and it looked really good for us. It's disappointing, to say the least."

BORIS SAID, No. 6 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 Four-Door - "There's really a lot of traffic, which is to be expected. A lot of people had the first-stint jitters, too, so I was trying to be overly cautious. We were hanging with the leaders as best we could, then gave up ground because of traffic, basically playing it safe. Right now, the M3 is running great. I feel bad for the other (No. 10 PTG team) car, but hopefully they'll get back out there. In the meantime, we'll try and keep our noses clean. There will be plenty of time to go fast tomorrow (Sunday)"

PETER CUNNINGHAM, No. 6 Yokohama/Flextronics Int'l/Level One BMW M3 Four-Door - "We're very happy with our pace, and everything is running really, really well. In the heat of the day, it was a little too slippery. But as soon as the sun went away, our Yokohama tires worked very well. So it's down to business as usual. We're not taking any chances because, correct me if I'm wrong, we've still got over almost over 19 hours to go."

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