Pacific Coast Motorsports progress rewarded with Portland podium Portland, Oregon (July 31, 2005) - Pacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") celebrated their first American Le Mans Series ("ALMS") GT1 podium yesterday, Saturday...
Pacific Coast Motorsports progress rewarded with Portland podium
Portland, Oregon (July 31, 2005) - Pacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") celebrated their first American Le Mans Series ("ALMS") GT1 podium yesterday, Saturday 30th June, as Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel powered the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R to a third place finish in the 'Portland Grand Prix', the sixth round of the 2005 ALMS Championship.
In what was the most exciting class battle of the season, set up perfectly by a super competitive qualifying session on Friday with the top five GT1 runners split by just eight tenths of a second, yesterday's 2-hour 45- minute charge round the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway also created a piece of ALMS history as Corvette's finished 1-2-3 to sweep the GT1 podium.
The #4 Corvette Racing C6-R, driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Berretta, took class honors followed closely by the sister #3 entry with Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows behind the wheel. Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge capped the Corvette celebrations just a lap behind the factory-supported C6- R entries, steering the privateer C5-R to its highest class finish of the season and rewarding the PCM crew with well deserved podium finish.
The form book went out the window at the start of the race as the C6-R's surrendered the GT1 lead at the very first turn to the #63 Saleen SR7. Alex Figge started for PCM and held fifth while chasing down the Maserati MC12 in the opening stages. At the front normal order was restored just after the half hour mark as Berretta's C6-R passed Terry Borcheller in the Saleen for the class lead.
Thirty minutes later the first full course caution of the day prompted a flurry of activity in the pits as the field took advantage of JJ Lehto's accident in the Audi R8 to change tires, refuel and swap drivers. In GT1 the Saleen SR7 was caught in the wake of flying debris from Lehto's car and was subsequently forced to retire.
Alex Figge darted into the pits from third in class, the Californian having moved ahead of the Maserati MC12 for position, to hand over control of the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R to team-mate Ryan Dalziel. A slick stop from the PCM pit crew allowed the Scottish racer to hit the track just before the green flag signaled a return to action. With 69-laps completed and an hour and a half on the clock, Dalziel comfortably held third place just one lap down on the leading Corvette C6-R's.
A second full course caution period forty minutes later allowed Dalziel to return to the pits safely for a splash of fuel and four new Yokohama's. With PCM opting to keep Ryan in the car for the closing stages, the 23-year- old Orlando-resident fired himself back on track with 45 minutes remaining as the track returned to green. While the remainder of the race proved uneventful for the #5 Corvette C5-R, Dalziel's mission was simple - bring the car home on the podium!
Chalking off 131 laps of the Portland International Raceway, Ryan duly delivered at the checkered flag with the PCM pit box erupting as they celebrated their first top three class finish and an eighth place overall score. It was an even sweeter result for the team as they bounced back in style from the disappointment of posting their first DNF of the year two weeks ago at Sonoma. Outright race honors went to Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in the LM1-entered Champion Audi R8, the duo's second straight ALMS victory.
Tyler Tadevic - PCM Team Director:
"I'm delighted with the whole team's performance. We've all been working hard and this weekend those efforts bore fruit! I felt sorry for the Saleen going out but that's racing and we had our share of bad luck last time out. The cautions then fell in all the right spots for us and our tires held up really well, especially in the evening as the temperatures cooled. We're happy to take luck over skill to get results but I think this weekend we successfully combined both!"
Alex Figge (United States) - PCM Driver:
"I'm really happy with this result. The C6-R's are virtually unbeatable but Ryan and I beat the Maserati fair and square on pure pace. I lost third gear in the middle of my stint but we were still able to run as fast as we needed. It was a hard race but a good one and the end result is a great reward for all the team."
Ryan Dalziel (Scotland) - PCM Driver:
"This team is used to winning and our result here puts us on the right track. We had some issues but we fought round them and still outpaced the likes of the Maserati. We had a bit of luck with the Saleen dropping out but these things happen and we took advantage of the situation. I'm delighted for the crew!"
Next up on the schedule for the PCM crew is a trip to Road America for Round 7 of the American Le Mans Series, 19th-21st August.