Dalziel spun out in Long Beach street fight Long Beach, California (April 09, 2006) -- The last time Scotland's Ryan Dalziel raced on the streets of Long Beach, California he dominated proceedings from pole position to kick start what would be a...
Dalziel spun out in Long Beach street fight
Long Beach, California (April 09, 2006) -- The last time Scotland's Ryan Dalziel raced on the streets of Long Beach, California he dominated proceedings from pole position to kick start what would be a season-long fight for the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Yesterday afternoon's 'Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach', Round 4 of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series for Daytona Prototype entries only, proved to be a totally different affair for the 23-year-old from Lanarkshire as he crossed the checkered flag down in a disappointing 16th place.
Ryan's 2004 victory must have felt like a long time ago as his return to the 1.968-mile temporary street course at Long Beach, racing the Pacific Coast Motorsports #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype, saw him battle with traffic throughout his stint and in particular with reigning champion Max Angelelli. The weekend started well for Dalziel along with his team-mate Alex Figge. They were third fastest in Friday's practice session before Figge qualified the car in tenth place despite an electrical problem which resulted in the loss of traction control.
Figge took the start in the shorter than usual 90-minute sprint race and climbed to eighth in the first couple of laps. He kept the #89 car in the fight despite just narrowly avoiding the season's most spectacular crash involving four cars on the flat-out main straight on lap 11. The following full-course caution allowed the team to pit for fuel and Dalziel duly took over from Figge for the remainder of the race.
With 30-mintues passing under the safety period, when racing finally resumed on lap 22 Dalziel had his sights set on passing current champion Max Angelelli in the #10 Pontiac Riley for a top-five spot. Aggressive defending from the Italian saw the two cars bang wheels on the approach to Turn 1 and as a result Ryan ran deep into the braking zone and locked up and into the tire barriers with Angelelli sandwiching him behind. After a slight delay both cars backed up and rejoined the race but race stewards subsequently hit Dalziel with a drive-through penalty despite it being nothing more than a simple racing incident.
The two drivers would clash again later in the race after a valiant drive from Ryan to climb back through the field. The #89 car demonstrated front-running pace as Dalziel scythed his way back into the top-ten, despite two additional full-course cautions as the race unfolded. Unfortunately for Ryan, running ninth in the closing stages he found himself behind Angelelli once again, the task of passing him made all the more difficult by the Italian's willingness to block and bang wheels each time Dalziel lined him up heading into Turn 1.
Disaster finally struck for the Scottish charger with four laps to go. Pulling out to pass as they raced towards Turn 1, Angelelli once again blocked and hit Dalziel causing the #89 car to spin out approaching the corner. Thankfully free from further damage Ryan finished the race but he took the checkered flag languishing down in 16th place, a result once again not reflective of the pace demonstrated by the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley.
The 52-lap race was won by pole-sitters, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz in the #01 Ganassi-entered Lexus Riley.
Still smarting from the standard of Angelelli's driving Ryan commented:
"It was an eventful race but unfortunately for us for all the wrong reasons. I have to say I thought Max Angelelli's driving was a disgrace and totally unacceptable from a series champion. He cost us both good results here in Long Beach. I shouldn't have been penalized for the first incident but at least I had the pace in the car to get us back into the top-ten towards the end.
"Needless to say I was more cautious when I realized I was behind Max again but I had the quicker car and could catch him easily into Turn 1. Again he kept blocking and banging wheels and ultimately he spun me out with four laps to go. I'm furious at that and disappointed for the whole Pacific Coast Motorsports team as we had a good car and this was a home race for the team and our sponsor Playboy."
Ryan, who celebrates his 24th birthday on Wednesday, returns to action in a couple of weeks time as the Virginia International Raceway hosts Round 5 of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series, 21st-23rd April.