BMW Team RLL have taken the American Le Mans Series GT drivers battle down to the wire following a strong finish at VIR meaning Petit Le Mans is still all to play for, for Dirk Muller.
Following a fourth and fifth place finish, Muller is only 16 points behind the leaders with 24 to play for at the final round. The men he has to beat is the Corvette pairing of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia who finished one place ahead of the #56.
Pairing with Joey Hand – who will miss Petit because of DTM commitments – Muller was running third in class at the start and with some expert powering through the field the Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver kept them within reach of Corvettte.
Muller said: “First of all, we’re still in the championship hunt, so a big thanks to my buddy Joey Hand. We knew it would be tough from the very beginning, but then with all that yellow [flags], 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 number 3 car from running away in the championship. I’m very happy with this result.”
Going onto the sister #55 Z4 GTE, Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin qualified on pole in what was the third consecutive pole with three different drivers (Auberlen, Edwards and Martin), however they faired not so well – especially in the pits – going in for a driver change one of the door hinges failed meaning the RLL mechanics had to swap it out there in the pit lane.
Martin finally rejoined the track tenth and near enough two laps down on the GT leaders but through well timed cautions and hard charging through the ALMS field he finished fifth.
“The best thing to say is that we knew we had to take every chance to get back on the lead lap. Thanks to the two safety car periods we were able to make it happen. Then we passed a number of cars and our car was getting faster so we put up a great fight. At the end it was a great fight in traffic and I was able to take advantage of several moments in the traffic. We pushed until the end and ended up fifth. I think we had the car that could finish even better.” Commented Martin.