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BMW rockets to Silverstone ELMS victory

BMW V12 LMR driver Jorg Muller has won the inaugural round of the European Le Mans Series at Silverstone on Saturday, May 13.

BMW rockets to Silverstone ELMS victory

The German came home just 33.493s ahead of the Panoz Roadster S driven by David Brabham.

The win consolidates Muller and team-mate JJ Lehto's position at the head of the 2000 ALMS championship.

The factory BMW drivers complained throughout race weekend of the LMR's poor handling at Silverstone, but they were always there or thereabouts while the lead see-sawed between the Panoz and Audi squads.

"The car was not so good to drive," said Muller. "We're not sandbagging, although no-one believes that. I don't want to sound too American, but the team did a great job today with a car that did not handle well."

Third place went to Rinaldo Capello in the 1999-spec Audi R8. It was just reward for an outstanding drive with outdated machinery. And this was despite a blow-out with just two laps to go that relegated the Italian to third place.

The GTS category was won by the Olivier Beretta/Karl Wendlinger Chrysler Viper, which led the class from pole in another dominant Viper performance. Beretta came home in eighth place overall and seven laps adrift of the winning BMW.

"This race was really a training session for Le Mans," said Beretta. "We tested some components for that, and it was pretty straightforward."

The GT class silverware went to the Sascha Maassen/Bob Wollek Porsche GT3-R, which finished 13th overall and 11 laps adrift.

"It was never easy," said Wollek. "The car is tough to drive and we were in it for long stints in today's race. I was luck at the restart after the yellow flag period: a Viper hit me on the right rear wheel, but no damage was done."

The European Le Mans Series now decamps to the Nurburgring on July 9, via a certain 24-hour race in France on June 17-18.

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