Laguna Seca (US), 5th May 2014.With a last lap pass in the final turn of the United SportsCar Championship (USCC) race at California’s Laguna Seca circuit Bill Auberlen (US), driving the Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM, secured the fourth consecutive BMW Team RLL podium finish of the 2014 season.
The runner-up finish keeps Auberlen and team-mate, Andy Priaulx (GB), at the top of the driver points standings and BMW Team RLL in the lead in the team points. The duo completed 84 laps during the two-hour race, finishing 4.710 seconds behind the winning Corvette of Jan Magnussen (DK) and Antonio Garcia (ES).
The race of team-mates John Edwards (US) and Dirk Müller (DE), in the Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM, was affected by a vibration that forced starting driver Edwards to pit on lap 22 and later in closing stages of the race when Müller was penalised for avoidable contact and called to the pit lane for a stop-and-go penalty. They finished tenth.
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW Team RLL):
“Bill did a great job in the No. 55 car at the end, but the Porsche ran him off the road twice. It is good to be on the podium again and good for Bill and Andy for their championship. This is our third second place here, and we need to do something about that. It was a hard race today. We took a different pit strategy to the other cars. It worked, but it is a shame the number 56 car got penalized.”
Bill Auberlen (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“Anyone who knows me and has raced against me all these years will tell you I race clean, but when I try to pass another car on the outside of 11 and they slam the door and then do it again on the next lap I am really unhappy. Andy did a great job and he was staying with everybody. You can’t ask anything else of a team mate as he handed me a perfect car. It is great to finish second and extend our lead in the championship.”
Andy Priaulx (Number 55 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“I am really happy. I had a good stint. I had good tyre degradation, saved fuel and handed the car over to Bill in a really good position. I have never been here before and I think I had a very strong weekend. It is great to be coming out of here still leading the championship. That was my goal and I achieved that today. At the end of the day I go home really happy.”
John Edwards (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“It was a frustrating race as our Z4 was really quick. I had a little moment when a prototype passed me on the inside where I thought I could stay ahead one more corner and let him by on the straight. But he came off the brake and was beside me so I had to brake harder to tuck in and locked the up tires. So that gave us a big flat spot and forced us to look at an alternative strategy to the one discussed before the race.”
Dirk Müller (Number 56 BMW Z4 GTLM):
“It is a real shame because we had a really good day going. I had a great car and we were quick. John did a good job, but everybody was playing tactics and basically it was a big train in the beginning. We changed our strategy and I think it paid off because I was mega quick. Then there was that incident with Ollie (Gavin) at the end. I got the penalty. Obviously, I have a different view on that. It was not my intention to have contact with him and I am sorry for that. Nevertheless the race was ruined and our podium went away.”