Mexico City: Pacific Coast Motorsports race report

Electrical gremlins halt PCM podium charge Mexico City, Mexico (March 05, 2006) - Pacific Coast Motorsports hopes of a podium finish in the second round of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series, held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City...

Electrical gremlins halt PCM podium charge

Mexico City, Mexico (March 05, 2006) - Pacific Coast Motorsports hopes of a podium finish in the second round of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series, held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City yesterday, were cruelly dashed as the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype encountered electrical problems with ten laps remaining dropping the team from fifth to an 11th place finish at the checkered flag.

It proved to be a heartbreaking end for the Ventura-based squad as team-mates Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel enjoyed a top-five car from Thursday's practice sessions all the way through to the dying stages of the 250-mile race on Saturday afternoon.

Figge qualified the car sixth overall on Friday and the American duly took the start as yesterday's 100-lap endurance sprint commenced. Continuing the rich vein of form seen throughout the weekend, Alex's pace in the Pontiac Riley matched those of the front-runners and he was up to fourth with 11 laps clocked round the 2.5 mile Mexican road course. The American racer climbed as high as third before handing over to Ryan Dalziel at the pit stop on lap 45.

Dropping back to 12th following the stop, Dalziel unleashed the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms entry as the race passed the half-way marker after a series of caution laps. Comfortably back in the top-ten, the Scotsman then found himself locked in a four car battle for sixth place with Ryan eventually emerging triumphant on lap 71. Following that the fight for fifth ensued with the #39 Cheever Racing entry. Once again Dalziel got the better of his rival and confident in the pace of the car he set his sights on a podium finish with 11 laps to go.

Tragedy struck on the next lap however when unforeseen electrical gremlins activated the traction control forcing the car to finish the race firing on half its cylinders. Needless to say the sublime pace shown by the #89 car was quickly eradicated and while Dalziel skillfully kept it on track he began to tumble down the running order, eventually nursing the car home to an 11th place finish.

"I'm extremely disappointed," proclaimed Tyler Tadevic, PCM Team Director. "Our car was definitely capable of finishing on the podium here today and we were closing on the cars ahead of us before our problems unfolded. Both Alex and Ryan drove exceptionally well and I'm proud of the job the whole team did. We've been in the top five all weekend and our motor has performed faultlessly throughout so it's only natural I'm disappointed. We'll recover from this though and we'll be back out testing the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley at Phoenix before heading to Miami later in the month for the next race."

Alex Figge, having enjoyed a strong opening stint behind the wheel, shared Tadevic's frustration with the outcome of the race. "For sure it's not the result we were looking for, or were on course for, but we proved just how competitive we can be," he said. "This was only our third start in the series and we were up there challenging for a podium finish so we can take heart from that and just keep working hard to maintain our form and keep pushing to the front."

Figge's team-mate, Ryan Dalziel, was similarly keen to take the positives from the weekend as opposed to focusing on the final result. "I think we were probably the fastest car on the track when the problem happened so we can be pleased with the gains made with our engine program following Daytona. I was back in 12th when I left the pits but I just put my foot down and worked my way back up to challenge at the front. I was having a great time racing and the car was close to perfect. I would have loved to have been on the podium in Mexico, I love the place and the fans here but it wasn't to be this time round."

The home crowd had plenty to cheer about though as the race was won by Mexican favorite Luis Diaz sharing the #1 Ganassi entry with America's Scott Pruett.

Round 3 of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, the Grand Prix of Miami, is hosted at the Homestead Miami Speedway, 23rd-25th March.

-www.pcmracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Luis Diaz , Alex Figge