Seconds out as Le Mans winner Ryan Dalziel hits the Road
THE PLOT: Le Mans 24-Hour winner Ryan Dalziel had little time to celebrate his sensational win in the epic 24-hour race in France because he was immediately back in the air to America to prepare for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
The aim was simple – Ryan wanted to boost his title chances and complete a dream week.
Ryan, from Windermere in Florida, and Venezuelan team-mate Enzo Potolicchio were just two points behind in the standings at Fort Lauderdale-based Starworks Motorsports arrived at the stunning Road America course in Wisconsin.
Ryan – originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland – was also boosted by news that the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series chiefs had given the Ford/Rileys a power boost after the last round, the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid Ohio.
And Ryan immediately made the most of it by clocking the fastest time in practice.
They were to be frustrated slightly when rain prevented qualifying, but the Starworks duo were ready to turn on the style.
After an excellent opening stint from Enzo, Ryan took over just before the halfway stage and was soon hounding leaders Memo Rojas and David Donohue. When they both pitted, Ryan powered the #8 Ford/Riley into the lead.
He drove a flawless stint until he pitted on lap 37. Then he was back into battle with Scott Pruett and Donohue. He produced a stunning pass to take Donohue on lap 43 and was less than two seconds behind Pruett.
He tried to wring everything from the Starworks car, before completing a great second place and a second podium in a week.
Ryan now heads to Watkins Glen sitting just five points off the lead and second in the championship.
THE QUOTES: “I’m really happy to have our second great result in seven days. I know it wasn’t victory at Road America but it certainly feels like one after some of the struggles with the Ford/Riley in recent races.
“We worked really hard all weekend to find a consistent car on long runs and we did that perfectly.
“We thought we would have had something for Scott on the closing laps since we had fresher tires but the extended yellow caution equalized things too much and it was a fight to the end.
“Ganassi were just a little better than us this time but I’m really proud of the whole Starworks team and what we have achieved so far this season.
“We really are looking forward to Watkins Glen and, hopefully, we will be taking some points away from the #01 car.”
Source: Ryan Dalziel media