Dalziel takes top five finish in Atlanta
Braselton, Georgia (April 17, 2005) -- Double driving duties gave Scotland's Ryan Dalziel the opportunity to take home Pacific Coast Motorsports second consecutive top ten American Le Mans Series finish today as the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R came home fifth in GT1 class and ninth overall in the Sportsbook.Com Grand Prix of Atlanta.
Dalziel, who was the second quickest GT1 runner in this morning's practice session at Road Atlanta, handed starting duties for the 2-hour 45-minute race to team-mate Alex Figge. The American, having qualified the car fifth in class yesterday, held station as the green flag waived and he safeguarded his position throughout the opening hour.
With the first 60 minutes passing and 43 laps recorded Figge pitted from fifth in class and 11th overall, handing over driving duties to Dalziel for the remainder of the race. The 23-year-old Scot hit the 2.54-mile track with a full tank of fuel and four new Yokohama tires. Dalziel eventually gained a position with 60 laps completed as Oliver Gavin, in the factory Corvette C6-R, spun out ahead of him at Turn 10 creating a full course caution complete with safety car.
Ryan's graduation to fourth in class and tenth overall was to prove short-lived however as the factory Corvette quickly made up for lost time dropping the privateer entry back to fifth. With two hours and 75 laps completed Ryan remained in the top ten running order but two laps down on the GT1 leading #3 Corvette C6-R of Johnny O'Connell.
Another full course caution ten minutes later, this time for debris on the track, prompted a flurry of activity up and down pit-lane and Pacific Coast Motorsports seized the opportunity to give Dalziel a fresh set of tires to take all the way to the finish. Despite being too far back to gain on Johnny Mowlem a GT1 place and a lap ahead, Dalziel was able to demonstrate his pace reeling off some of the fastest class lap times in the dying stages.
Ryan remained comfortably in the top ten running order and the final laps passed without incident for the rookie sports car racer. A late retirement from one of the leading P1 entries boosted Dalziel's finishing position to ninth overall but he remained fifth in class completing 106 laps at the checkered flag.
Ahead of Dalziel, Oliver Gavin's spirited recovery drive steered the Englishman back to second in GT1 behind his works Corvette team-mate Johnny O'Connell, their superior pace giving the C6-R its first win of the season and a 1-2 finish ahead of the Maserati MC12.
Reflecting on the race Dalziel remarked:
"We've still got a lot to learn with our car; primarily we need to get more performance from it in warm conditions such as today! That said we showed some promise with my lap times towards the end of the race and in the morning practice sessions yesterday and today. There's work to be done before our next outing but I'm looking forward to getting to Mid-Ohio and seeing what we can do!"
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio hosts Round 3 of the 2005 American Le Mans Series from 20-22nd May. CBS Sports will once again broadcast the action across America.