VIR: Pacific Coast Motorsports race report

Retirement ends Pacific Coast Motorsports Virginia challenge Alton, Virginia (April 23, 2006) -- Pacific Coasts Motorsports posted its second retirement of the season today as the ...

Retirement ends Pacific Coast Motorsports Virginia challenge

Alton, Virginia (April 23, 2006) -- Pacific Coasts Motorsports posted its second retirement of the season today as the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley was forced out of the 'VIR 400', Round 5 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, due to engine-related issues following yet another promising performance by the Ventura-based squad.

Heading to Virginia International Raceway this weekend looking to record their first top-ten finish of the season, team-mates Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel were optimistic heading into today's race having run inside the top-ten throughout practice on Friday and taking 12th on the grid following yesterday's first-running of the qualifying race format, albeit shortened courtesy of heavy rain and the resulting track conditions.

While Dalziel had to contend with yesterday's treacherous weather, Alex Figge took the start of today's 2-hour 45-minute race with clear skies overhead and the American wasted little time in slicing the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms entry through the field to the sharp end of the Daytona Prototype action.

Hustling his way around the 3.27-mile Virginia road course, Figge was firmly on a mission as he climbed as high as third with eight laps clocked. With a full course caution out on the next lap Figge opted to pit for fuel under yellows but was subsequently awarded a penalty for contact with the #5 Ford Crawford at Turn 3 on the previous lap.

PCM appealed the ruling but it was denied by officials and as Figge exited pit-lane, they threw the red flag for the penalty but too late for the Californian to hold station. The team subsequently collected a second drive-through penalty, forced to serve both under green flag conditions. When the track turned green on lap 14 Figge duly served his penalties and found himself rejoining the action dumped down to 21st and a lap behind the leaders.

11 laps later the #89 car headed back to pit-lane for the driver changeover with Alex reporting a loss of power. As Dalziel climbed in the PCM crew took the opportunity to investigate the problem but found themselves incurring yet another penalty, this time for having too many crew members over the wall.

When Dalziel was finally released the power output problem remained and the Scottish racer failed to complete his out lap bringing the stricken #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms car back behind the wall and into immediate retirement before the race had reached half distance.

The race was won by the #23 Porsche Crawford Daytona Prototype, driven by Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller, following a stunning last-lap move from third to first.

PCM Team Director Tyler Tadevic:

"What can I say, another race with problems and a disappointing finish! The biggest frustration is that we had a fast car to begin with as demonstrated by Alex's awesome performance in the early laps. I think the penalty we received for the contact with the #5 car was unwarranted but as it turned out Alex then began to report that the car was losing power. We couldn't see what was wrong when we made the changeover and sent Ryan back out but I think it might have been an electrical problem which resulted in the loss of a cylinder. We're off to Laguna next and put simply we've got a lot of lost ground to make up for!"

Alex Figge:

"I was having a blast in the opening laps and proved our potential by getting the #89 car up to the front. I thought the call on the contact was a little severe and the manner in which we were then notified of the penalty ruling was frustrating as I was half over the line when the red flag was waved. The engine problem just compounded our bad luck here in Virginia. We just have to put this weekend behind us and take the positives into the next race!"

Ryan Dalziel:

"It's a real shame to retire like this as we had a strong car all weekend. Alex said to me he'd take the car to the front and he delivered on his word. It was unfortunate that we were penalized as it cost us any chance of a decent finish had we been able to go on and complete the race. The last two events have demonstrated our potential but things just haven't gone our way. Hopefully we'll turn things around and enjoy some better luck back in California next month."

Round 6 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series heads back to Pacific Coast Motorsports' home-turf in California with the 'U.S. Sports Car Invitational' at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey. 5-7 May.

-www.pcmracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Patrick Long , Alex Figge , Mike Rockenfeller