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Amesbury, MA. – August 28th, 2016 -- Michael Marsal and Markus Palttala strung together two solid stints in the No. 97 Alvarez & Marsal BMW M6 to run inside the top-five for much of Sunday’s two-hour and forty-minute Michelin GT challenge at the 17-turn, 3.27 mile VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia.

Despite what looked to be a solid finish for the duo, a late race tire puncture sent the No. 97 of Palttala from fifth position to eleventh with just thirty minutes remaining in the caution-less race.

The No. 96 IHG Rewards BMW M6 GT3 of Bret Curtis and Jens Klingmann experienced early troubles when Curtis was forced to pit lane with just one lap completed after spinning due to contact made by the No.67 Ford GT GTLM entry starting from the rear of the field.

The No. 97 BMW of Marsal and Palttala started round nine of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from the tenth position to make a charge up to just outside the top five. In Marsal’s near hour-long opening stint he managed to improve four positions to sixth.

“I really had a great time out there today,” said Michael Marsal. “Our No. 97 BMW M6 GT3 ran very strong allowing me to push forward and make up several positions in my opening stint. The M6 GT3 really shows it’s strengths here at VIR which makes racing one of my favorite tracks that much better.

Curtis returned to the track after repairs were made on the front splitter of the No. 96 BMW to complete minimum drive time, salvaging valuable Championship points with a twelfth place finish.

“It’s extremely disappointing to have something like this happen to us in the first lap,” said Bret Curtis. “The crew worked hard to give Jens (Klingmann) and I a good car for this race so it’s really frustrating we were not able to race here at VIR. We will be looking forward to COTA in a few weeks”

Following the first pit stop and driver change, Palttala quickly settled into his rhythm clicking off a series of consistency quick laps in an effort to close the gap to the GTD class leaders. Palttala’s consistency throughout his first fifty-minute stint allowed him to make up ground on some of the GTD leaders.

With just about one hour remaining, Palttala pushed to continue to make up ground on the top four until contact with the Porsche No. 911 GTLM allowed the No. 33 Viper to make a pass on the No. 97 of Palttala in Turns 2 and 3.

With just over thirty minutes remaining, Palttala was forced into pit lane to change a left rear punctured tire, returning to the track in eleventh place to finish out the race. Palttala managed to make up one position with ten minutes remaining to ultimately finish ninth.

“I had a good pace but unfortunately we were just never able to close that gap between our BMW and the leaders,” said Markus Palttala. “Michael got us off to a fantastic start with a super strong stint but with no yellows and a late in the race tire failure, we were never able to work our BMW to the front.

Stay tuned as the team prepares for the Lone Start Grand Prix on September 14th-17th at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas which will mark the next round in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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About Turner Motorsport

Turner Motorsport is the leading BMW tuner in North America, bringing technology and expertise from the racetrack to the street for over two decades. Since 1993 the Turner Motorsport Team has competed in over 300 professional races, winning seven professional racing championships in four different series since 2003. The most recent being the 2014 Team Championship in the GTD-class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Their success is passed into every component that Turner Motorsport designs and sells through their comprehensive website and performance showroom. Our Race Team, R&D Engineers and Sales Team work together, ensuring practical knowledge and state-of-the-art engineering flow in both directions. Few companies in North America can claim such a close relationship to what they sell and what they race.

2016 Weathertech SportsCar Championship Schedule


August 28 – Virginia International Raceway (GTLM and GTD only)
September 17 – Circuit of The Americas
October 1 – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

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