Sebring, 16th March 2012. BMW Team RLL completed the first qualifying
session of the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in Sebring (US)
today. Joey Hand (US), at the wheel of the no. 56 BMW M3 GT, set the
third-fastest time of 1:59.776 minutes in the ALMS GT category.
Jörg Müller (DE) came sixth in the number 155 car. Pole
position in the ALMS GT field went to Chevrolet’s Jan Magnussen
(DK) in a time of 1:58.996 minutes.
The new seasons for both the ALMS and the FIA World Endurance
Championship (WEC) get underway at the “Sebring International
Raceway” this weekend. In total, 64 cars will line up at the
iconic circuit in Florida.
When the 60th staging of the 12 Hours of Sebring gets underway at
10:30hrs local time (14:30 GMT) on Saturday, the two reigning GT
champions, Joey Hand and Dirk Müller (DE), will share the cockpit
of their BMW M3 GT with Jonathan Summerton (US). Bill Auberlen (US)
and Uwe Alzen (DE) will be in action alongside Jörg Müller
in the sister car.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal):
“The front-runners might be a few tenths ahead of us. However,
qualifying is one thing, but the race will be a completely different
ballgame. It’s tomorrow that it counts. We will try to stay out
of trouble, make no mistakes at the pit stops and put in consistent
lap times. And then we will have to wait and see how the race develops.”
Joey Hand (BMW M3 GT – No. 56):
“I love qualifying the car and the bit of extra tension that
comes along with it. Overall I was really happy with the car. The
Dunlop tyres worked very well. For the first time our rivals showed
their full potential, so there’s quite a lot of work ahead of
us. However, in tomorrow’s race it will be all about
consistency. And in this respect I know just how strong our team is.
The race will definitely be a completely different affair.”
Jörg Müller (BMW M3 GT – No. 155):
“This wasn’t a perfect qualifying for me, but we all know
that grid positions are not too important in a 12-hour race. Our plan
was to set our fastest time on lap three or four. The Dunlop tyres got
better and better, but towards the end our tyre pressure wasn’t
100 per cent right, although I had been convinced that our strategy
had been the right one. But unfortunately this wasn’t the case.
Nevertheless, I think that we will be able to raise our game in