BMW Dominates Long Beach

ALMS: BMW Dominates Long Beach

Joey Hand and Dirk Muller score back-to-back wins in GT, Muscle Milk AMR takes overall win

John Dagys Posted April 16, 2011 Long Beach, CA

Photo By John Dagys

BMW Team RLL continued its winning ways in the American Le Mans Series, as Joey Hand and Dirk Muller cruised to the GT class victory in Saturday’s street fight at Long Beach. The duo aboard the No. 56 BMW M3 GT held off challenges from Corvette Racing and Risi Competizione to score back-to-back victories in the highly competitive category.

After starting from the class pole, Hand held control of the early stages of the race but briefly dropped to third after getting held up by teammate Bill Auberlen, who spun his BMW at the Fountain Turn.

Despite the setback, it didn’t take long for the No. 56 BMW to retake the lead. Hand was back out front by the 42-minute mark after a daring pass around the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Long and the Oliver Gavin-driven No. 4 Corvette Racing C6.R.

A flawless mid-race pit stop and driver change to Muller kept the Bimmer out front and en route to their second victory in as many races this season, despite the two-hour race ending under the safety car due to a late-race crash for a GTC-class Porsche.

Jan Magussen and co-driver Gavin settled for a runner-up finish in class in their No. 4 Corvette C6.R, ahead of the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Jamie Melo and Toni Vilander, following the Finn’s impressive drive from the back of the pack following Friday’s qualifying spin.

Team Falken Tire’s Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler was the best of the Porsche contingent in fourth, benefitting from a late-race spin by Scott Sharp, which damaged the rear of his No. 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari F458 Italia.

The No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Long appeared to be one of the only cars able to challenge Hand’s BMW early but slammed into the wall near the halfway mark, ending the day for he and co-driver Jorg Bergmeister and their bid for three straight Long Beach class wins.

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