Dunlop and BMW extend podium streak at Laguna Seca
Round three of the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was the scene of yet another intense GT battle, as the pair of Dunlop-shod BMW M3 GTs fought for the lead against two Corvettes in the final laps.The BMWs finished the six-hour race in third and forth position, delivering a third consecutive GT class podium for Dunlop and BMW Team RLL.
After Saturday’s running at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, BMW Team RLL ranks second in both the team and manufacturer points standings, with drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Müller holding second in driver points.
The No. 55 BMW M3 GT of Bill Auberlen and Jörg Müller finished in third place, scoring the duo’s first podium together and tying them for fourth in the driver standings.
Teammates Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished fourth in the No. 56 BMW M3 GT, despite losing the car’s rear fascia and diffuser as a result of contact from the second place Corvette.
“Our competitors certainly are not making it easy,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “We hung in there despite being hit many times and came away with valuable points.”
Dunlop-equipped teams also achieved podium finishes in both the LMP1 and LMP2 prototype classes.
In LMP1, the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola-Mazda of Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Johnny Mowlem finished second in class. The team lost contention for the lead after a damaged front diffuser sent them back to the garage for repairs. However, the team would return to finish the race, using the final portion as an opportunity to test different Dunlop tire combinations.
In LMP2, Dunlop-equipped teams swept the class podium, with the No. 95 HPD ARX-03b of Level 5 Motorsports earning the team’s third consecutive victory. Drivers Franck Montagny, Scott Tucker and Luis Diaz finished second overall, only three laps behind the more powerful LMP1 race leader. Second and third place were rounded out by the No. 37 Morgan-Nissan of Conquest Endurance and the No. 055 HPD ARX-03b of Level 5 Motorsports, respectively.
Following the traditional break in the ALMS season for teams competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the series, the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, will be held at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, Conn. on July 7th.