PCM pick up the pace at Lime Rock Park Lakeville, Connecticut (July 04, 2005) - Pacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") capped the fourth of July holiday weekend with another solid performance in their rookie American Le Mans Series ("ALMS") season.
PCM pick up the pace at Lime Rock Park
Lakeville, Connecticut (July 04, 2005) - Pacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") capped the fourth of July holiday weekend with another solid performance in their rookie American Le Mans Series ("ALMS") season. Today's 'New England Grand Prix', a 2-hour 45-minute endurance sprint at Lime Rock Park, saw team-mates Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel revel in wheel-to-wheel combat with their GT1 rivals while steering the privateer #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R to seventh place, its highest overall finish.
Alex Figge had the honor of taking the Independence Day start before a sizeable Lime Rock audience. Holding the team's fourth place qualifying position the American racer quickly settled into a rhythm as the field streamed out over the narrow, undulating 1.54-mile Lakeville circuit. A full course caution, the first of four on the day, soon slowed the field to extract the stricken GT1 Viper after just 15 minutes of racing.
Approaching the half hour mark the track returned to green and Alex continued to charge, pushing the veteran C5-R hard into the first turn, locking up his Yokohama's at Big Bend but holding it together to keep ahead of the #63 ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7-R. It wasn't long before the two cars fought for position with Terry Borcheller barging past Figge for fourth in GT1. Shortly after PCM called Figge to the pits to check over the car and make the first driver change of the day.
A super-slick new pit routine by PCM saw Ryan Dalziel quickly back on track with four new tires and a full tank of gas. Fifteen minutes into his stint a heavy off by Ron Fellows in the #3 Corvette Racing C6-R brought out the yellows once again. Proving the durability of the all new Corvette, Fellows recovered and raced back to the pits and it didn't take long, this time with Johnny O'Connell behind the wheel, to get the factory-backed car back in the GT1 fight.
Dalziel kept the C5-R in the top ten running order throughout his stint, posting lap times comparable with the Saleen S7-R and Maserati MC12 ahead in second and third respectively. O'Connell's charge eventually saw him sprint back to third in class with a little over an hour remaining while Ryan kept Johnny Mowlem in the S7-R honest, the Scot just five seconds off the back of the Englishman in fourth.
As the race headed into the final hour two additional full course cautions played into PCM's rivals pit strategies. The third caution period lasted ten minutes but almost as quickly as the field charged to the green flag another caution was signaled and as a result the lengthy delay allowed the likes of the Saleen S7-R to
race all the way to the flag without refueling. Alex Figge resumed driving duties under the yellow and the California-based racer headed back on track to await the restart.
With almost 30 minutes passing under the fourth and final full course caution, to allow a clean-up operation from leaked gearbox oil, the sprint to the checkered resumed with 15 minutes to go. Alex took the flag fifth in GT1 and seventh overall - a personal best for PCM in only their fourth ALMS start. The GT1 race was won by the #4 Corvette Racing C6-R.
Tyler Tadevic - PCM Team Director:
"Overall we were more competitive this weekend and that's proven by finishing on the same lap as the Saleen SR-7 and the Maserati MC12 for the first time in our short ALMS career. I'm really proud of how well the team worked today, the guys were really under the gun with our new pit stop routine but they performed flawlessly. We head to the next race with a new tire compound from Yokohama and if we continue our ability to get better each time out then I think we're in for a good weekend back in California."
Alex Figge (United States) - PCM Driver:
"We were in the mix right from the start and I had a great race for position with the #63 Saleen. It was a little hairy at times with the usual traffic problems a factor in the race. It was also pretty hot out there, especially during my second stint with the lengthy caution period. You don't notice the heat when you're racing but touring round for so long you really feel it. Overall though I had a good time and can't wait to get back out in a couple of weeks time."
Ryan Dalziel (Scotland) - PCM Driver:
"Today was the closest we've been all season to some of the other GT1 runners and I think we were unlucky to lose out the way we did with the caution periods playing into our rivals fuel strategies. It was definitely a positive weekend with our pace increasing and more to come for the fifth round in a couple of weeks."
The ALMS heads west to California for the 'Sonoma Grand Prix', 15th-17th July, at the Infineon Raceway located just north of San Francisco.