On-form Ryan Dalziel insisted he was up for Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car title fight after scorching to a sensational win at Watkins Glen in New York.
Scotland’s Ryan, who now lives in Windermere in Florida, endured a rollercoaster of emotions after the controversy at Indianapolis two weeks ago.
But he put all that behind him with a masterclass at the Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire at Watkins Glen as Fort Lauderdale-based Starworks Motorsport came home first and second.
Ryan revealed that they were so determined to win, team boss Peter Baron was even carrying out radio messages in CODE.
The result cuts the lead at the top of the standings, with Ryan now just six points behind Ganassi Racing duo Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
But the victory was all the sweeter for Ryan, who comes originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland, as he put last week’s horrors behind him.
Ryan and Starworks had been left seething after they felt Juan Pablo Montoya escaped sanction for putting the #8 Ford/Riley in the gravel and handing the title initiative to Pruett and Rojas.
Venezuelan team-mate Enzo Potlicchio immediately quit the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car series. But he vowed to continue to back Ryan’s title charge. They brought in German ace Lucas Luhr and the duo were in stunning form.
But it still needed a flawless final stint from Ryan as he led the final 30 laps to beat off the challenge of Sebastien Bourdais and Alex Popow in the sister car – coming home just .817 or a second in front.
Ryan was quick to dedicate the win to Potlicchio and, as the series now heads to Montreal this weekend, he is determined to take the fight right to the wire.
RYAN SAYS: “What an amazing day for Starworks but, more importantly, we did exactly what we said we could do – we got the championship back on track.
I have to say there was a mixture of emotions going into the race. I was sad to hear that Enzo had pulled out. I thought that was the championship dream over.
But, a few days later, he told me I could run with another pro and go for the championship on my own. I’m really grateful for the faith he has in me and Starworks and it feels great to dedicate this win to him.
The points race is now on – there are just six points difference and three races to go. Starworks definitely have the momentum to keep taking points out of Ganassi.
This 1-2 podium came at the perfect time for us and we really needed the #8 car to bounce back. I owe this result to my team-mate Lucas, all the #8 crew for great pit stops and Peter Baron for some great strategy calls.
“Mid-race they were trying to talk to me in code on the radio. It was making no sense to me at the time so I told Peter: ‘Just to do whatever you need to do to get me in the lead and I'll do the rest’. That’s what we did.
I can’t wait for Montreal in seven days. We are always strong there and our team is working perfectly right now. We are ready to win this championship.”
Source: Ryan Dalziel