Fundidora fight back saves series lead Scottish racer Ryan Dalziel maintained his lead of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship today despite being taken off on the run to Turn 1 on the opening lap of the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix at Fundidora ...
Fundidora fight back saves series lead
Scottish racer Ryan Dalziel maintained his lead of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship today despite being taken off on the run to Turn 1 on the opening lap of the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix at Fundidora Park, Monterrey. A valiant performance in Mexico from the 22-year-old pole-winner saw him recover to set the fastest lap of the race and take the chequered flag in eighth, his points haul ensuring he continues to lead the series heading to Round 3 at Milwaukee in a fortnight.
Prior to this afternoon's race Dalziel was simply the class of the field, fastest throughout practice and both qualifying sessions, the young Scot was hoping for a seventh consecutive podium appearance and another win from pole to echo his Long Beach victory in Round 1.
It wasn't to be for last year's series runner-up as he was collected by an overly ambitious move from his fellow front-row starter Bryan Sellars under braking into the first corner. The subsequent collision severely damaged the #28 ProWorks Sierra Sierra Enterprises entry forcing Dalziel to head back to pit-road for immediate repairs.
Ryan's crew worked frantically to rectify the damage, doing what they could under the caution period including replacing the front nose and slapping a brand new set of tires on the stricken race car. Exiting the pits well behind the pack Dalziel's recovery drive was impressive, the Lanarkshire ace quickly catching the tail end of the field and climbing to eighth by the end of the 32-lap race. Despite the damage inflicted and the resulting handling problems Ryan broke the lap record he set yesterday to claim pole, with today's best of 1m24.693s earning him a valuable bonus point.
Eager to put today's frustrations behind him Dalziel quickly looked at the positives and to the future:
"I said earlier this weekend just how important being able to score points is and I think today's a good example of this. Thanks to some great team work in the pits I was able to get back into the race and come away from the weekend still leading the championship. The extra point for fastest lap is another positive as we had the quickest car throughout the event. Needless to say I'm now looking forward to competing at The Milwaukee Mile and as defending champion I'm settling for nothing less than a return to the top step."
After Round 2 of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama Ryan Dalziel leads the series with 52 points from Rocky Moran Jr, Danica Patrick and Ronnie Bremmer, all three tied on 46.
The series now heads to The Milwaukee Mile for Round 3, June 3-5, the only oval race on the calendar.