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Old 02-08-2005, 05:48 PM   #1
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Woodcliff Lake, NJ - February 7, 2005... Both BMW Team PTG M3s were withdrawn in the eighth hour of the Rolex 24 at Daytona after the two cars suffered right rear wheel stud failures. The No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 of Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Chris Gleason and Ian James completed 199 laps and was credited with a 30th place finish. The No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 of Justin Marks, Tom Milner, RJ Valentine and Kelly Collins finished 31st, completing 168 laps.
Bill Auberlen started the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 from the sixth starting position. He pitted under the race's first caution period for fuel on lap 15. He continued to race just outside the top-five until pitting on lap 48. Joey Hand took over the No. 21 M3 with new tires and fuel. He pitted for fuel on lap 59 and three hours into the race the No. 21 M3 was back to seventh position. Hand pitted for fuel again on lap 84, taking advantage of another caution period. Ian James replaced Hand on lap 119. James pitted for fuel on lap 141 and at the six-hour race mark stood in the ninth position. Chris Gleason entered the car on lap 180, but only 18 laps later lost the right rear wheel after the wheel studs failed and could not continue.

The No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3, with Justin Marks behind the wheel, started from the 10th position and also took advantage of the race's early caution period. He pitted for fuel and at the one hour mark was in the 11th position. He pitted for fuel and tires on lap 46 and handed the M3 off to Tom Milner. Two hours into the race he stood in the eighth position. A spinning Daytona Prototype just before the three hour mark brought out the yellow flag and a quick pit stop gained Milner several positions. As the track was cleaned, the No. 22 M3 circulated in the GT class lead. On lap 119 Milner handed off to Kelly Collins. After new tires and fuel Collins rejoined the race in seventh position, but was back in the pits one lap later. The M3 was brought to the garage to repair broken rear wheel studs and lost 20 laps. At the six hour mark the No. 22 M3 stood in 22nd position with Collins still behind the wheel. RJ Valentine took over at lap 149 and within 20 laps the wheel studs broke. The No. 22 car was brought to the garage and ultimately withdrawn from the race.

"The right rear wheel studs failed for a second time on the No. 22 M3, within the same hour they broke on the No. 21 M3," said Tom Milner, BMW Team PTG owner. "Whatever the flaw, part or design, there was no other choice but to withdraw both cars. Trying to continue would have been too dangerous for everyone. Brand new racing cars always have new problems, and this stud issue is certainly new to us. The cars were back at the shop on Sunday and work has already begun to fix the problem. The withdrawal was a major disappointment. We got it right at Miami last season - looks like we need to do it again."

Round Two of the Rolex Sports Car Series will take place on March 3-6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where, in 2004, BMW Team PTG began a seven-race winning streak with a 1-2 BMW M3 finish.
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