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PROMISING PACE FROM SIMS SECURES FOURTH AT LONG BEACH

Alexander Sims finished the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach fourth on Saturday 8 April 2017, as he and co-driver Bill Auberlen showed promising pace and stayed out of trouble in the hectic street race.

It was the 29-year-old British driver’s first attempt at the infamous Long Beach circuit in sunny Los Angeles, California, and he managed to have a clean race while many of his competitors were taken out in several incidents.

Auberlen took the start in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM for the 100-minute third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and was running second in the hotly-contested GT Le Mans class after an incident eliminated two of BMW Team RLL’s rivals on the first lap.

The No. 25 BMW then stayed second in class for the entirety of Auberlen’s stint before he handed the car over to Sims with 42 minutes completed. He exited the pits having lost a few positions due to being on a different pit strategy, but before long the BMW was back into the top six.

For much of the second half of the race, Martin Tomczyk led the way in BMW Team RLL’s sister car, until he suffered a temporary power loss caused by an electrical issue late in the race.

This did allow Sims to take another place, moving him up to fifth for the last ten laps, before chaos on the final lap led to several cars stopped at the hairpin. As many cars lost positions with this incident, Sims stayed out of trouble and benefitted, moving up to fourth in class and ninth overall as he crossed the finish line.

“It was a really crazy race at Long Beach with lots of cautions and crashes,” Sims said. “The key here is just to play it cool and stay out of trouble, and that’s just what Bill and I did. RLL has had a lot of success here in the past and it looked like Martin was set to take the win until he had those issues.

“Still, I’m happy with fourth after such a hectic sprint race! It’s our best result of the season so far and it fills me with a lot of confidence heading to Texas for the next IMSA race.”

The next round of the WeatherTech Championship is the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, for a two-hour, 40-minute race around a very different circuit to the tight, twisty streets of Long Beach. This race will take place on 5-7 May.

However, Sims is back in action sooner with the Nürburgring 24 Hours Qualifying Race on 22-23 April, as the BMW Motorsport crews prepare for the infamous endurance race in May.

Source. Mel Wicks

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