BMW takes Charlotte win

BMW started its 2000 American Le Mans Series assault in earnest, after JJ

BMW takes Charlotte win

Lehto and Jorg Muller claimed victory in the second round race at Charlotte on Saturday.

Jorg Muller took the chequered flag at Charlotte in the number 42 BMW - just
7.884 seconds ahead of the Panoz LMP-1 of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen.

Lehto, who had dominated qualifying, made a great start but was harried - and
soon passed - by Magnussen.

After the lead changed back, the race eventually became the setting for a
scrap between Muller and Brabham. However, pitstop strategy put things in
BMW's favour.

After a full course yellow was signalled, BMW opted to keep Muller in the car
for a double-stint. Despite an impressive effort by Brabham, Muller managed
to stay well ahead.

"We planned for me to go out at the end," Lehto said afterwards, "but the
yellow changed that. I was just watching at the end and getting nervous."

The Rafanelli team's Olive Garden Lola, which had been the surprise in
qualifying after snatching third spot on the grid, scored its first points of
the season with third in the race.

After dominating last month's season opener at Sebring, the number 78 Audi of
Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro finished in sixth position.

In the GTS class, the Team Oreca Dodge Viper squad scored their seventh straight
ALMS win, with Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta taking honours in the
number 91 car.

Dick Barbour racers, Sascha Maassen and Bob Wollek, finished first in the GT
category, after storming past Peter Cunningham's BMW four minutes from the
end of the race. .

"Team strategy put us in position at the right time," said Muller. "It was
brilliant teamwork. At the end, I wasn't pushing."

For a full report on the race, read this week's edition of AUTOSPORT magazine.

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