Pacific Coast Motorsports denied second straight podium Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 21, 2005) - Pacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") came within twenty minutes of a second straight GT1 class podium finish today, Sunday...
Pacific Coast Motorsports denied second straight podium
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (August 21, 2005) - Pacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") came within twenty minutes of a second straight GT1 class podium finish today, Sunday 21st August, before a blown left-rear tire caused terminal damage to the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R, forcing it into retirement at the 'Generac 500 at Road America', Round 7 of the American Le Mans Series ("ALMS").
PCM pilot Ryan Dalziel was on his second stint behind the wheel in the 2- hour 45-minute race when the left-rear tire exploded on the privateer C5-R at 160mph on the straight approaching Turn 5. The subsequent damage to the car robbed the team of a well-deserved second successive GT1 podium finish, Dalziel running third in class behind the factory-backed Corvette C6-R's at the time of the incident.
The day started on a positive note as clear blue skies greeted the ALMS field as they lined up to tackle the 4.048-mile layout at Road America. Ryan Dalziel was first up for PCM and he immediately got the jump on the #35 Maserati MC12 at the start to move from fifth in GT1 to fourth. While the order was soon reversed Dalziel's pace ensured he shadowed the Italian car's every move as the opening laps reeled off.
Ryan survived an early scare having been banged into by the wounded #10 Miracle Motorsports entry driven by Chris McMurry, the P2 racer himself a victim of a collision with Johnny Mowlem in the GT1 #63 Saleen S7R. As the race settled down Dalziel's focus was fixed firmly on passing the Maserati just four tenths of a second ahead of him with thirty minutes off the clock.
PCM ultimately won the battle for fourth in the pits as the team took advantage of the first full course caution of the day handing over driving duties to Alex Figge, the American taking on fuel and fresh rubber in the process. Racing resumed twenty minutes later and Alex found himself eighth overall and fourth in class behind the leading Corvette C6-R's and the Saleen S7R.
A second full course caution period, shortly after the hour marker, would last for another twenty minutes and when the track returned to green Figge had climbed to third overall thanks to another series of pit stops shaking up the order at the front. The pack quickly shuffled out as the P1 cars charged back into the lead while Alex held a comfortable sixth overall and third in class behind Ron Fellows in the C6-R and Johnny Mowlem in the Saleen.
Technical gremlins would soon put paid to the Saleen's challenge and with an hour left on the clock Figge kept the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R in third behind Corvette's factory racers, Fellows and Beretta. A few minutes later the team called Figge to the pits and Ryan Dalziel hopped in for his second tour of duty at Road America, the 23-year-old looking good to take PCM to another podium finish following their third place celebration at Portland at the end of July.
If proof were needed as to just how cruel motorsport can be, with only twenty minutes of the race remaining and 61-laps recorded the left-rear tire gave way testing Dalziel's driving skills to the extreme as the Scot fought to keep control at 160mph. The team's race was over however as the shredded tire caused terminal damage to the C5-R and Ryan was left with no choice but to park the car at the side of the track.
GT1 honors went to Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the #4 Corvette Racing C6-R while Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela celebrated P1 and outright victory in the Champion Racing Audi R8.
Tyler Tadevic - PCM Team Director:
"Today was a great day right up until the end of the race! We had third place stitched up until the tire failure put us out of action. It's a shame for the team as the drivers were flawless and the crew did an awesome job with our strategy and pit work. Our new front-end aero package really helped our overall competitiveness. I'm encouraged by our performance, we knew a second podium was in the offing and we'd have taken it firmly on merit."
Alex Figge (United States) - PCM Driver:
"We had fun out there today and proved once again we can mix it up with our GT1 rivals. Our fuel strategy played out really well and we benefited from the work done on our front-end aero package. It's disappointing not to celebrate our best race yet from the podium but we all know what should have been!"
Ryan Dalziel (Scotland) - PCM Driver:
"I'm really gutted our race ended in the way it did as we were enjoying our best performance of the year. We'll need to investigate what happened, I might have hit some debris which blew out the tire but we're not sure as yet. Overall it was a great run and we deserved to be on the podium again!"