PCM progress rewarded with best finish yet Lexington, Ohio (May 22, 2005) - Round 3 of the 2005 American Le Mans Series ("ALMS") at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course today proved to be the most eventful race of the season with the usual blend...
PCM progress rewarded with best finish yet
Lexington, Ohio (May 22, 2005) - Round 3 of the 2005 American Le Mans Series ("ALMS") at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course today proved to be the most eventful race of the season with the usual blend of drama and excitement throughout the four competing classes. In GT1 Pacific Coast Motorsports ("PCM") had good reason to be cheerful as the sports car rookies celebrated the arrival of Ironclad as a team sponsor with their best finish yet with Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel steering the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R to fourth in class and eighth overall by the checkered flag.
Having qualified fifth in class the day before, Ryan Dalziel was first up behind the wheel on the 2.25-mile, 13-turn Lexington circuit. The Orlando- based Scot was immediately put to test as his first stint used a harder compound tire, a decision that ultimately had a negative effect on the overall performance of the C5-R. In addition to battling his own car Dalziel had to deal with the constant attentions of the Maserati MC12 - the Italian GT1 contender charging from a grid penalty which initially promoted PCM to fourth in class at the start.
While the Maserati, piloted by Fabrizio De Simone, quickly passed Dalziel, a stop-go penalty for the Italian for contact allowed the Scottish ace to reclaim fourth while racing 12th overall with 10 laps completed. Soon after a collision involving the GT2 cars of Bass and Sellers along with the P1 Champion Audi of JJ Lehto resulted in a full course caution with the time taken to clear track debris encouraging a flurry of activity in the pit-lane. A slick stop from the PCM crew enabled Dalziel to get back on track with four brand new Yokohama's and a full tank of fuel.
The course switched to green with 23 laps completed and it wasn't long before Dalziel had to deal with the attentions of the #35 Maserati MC12 once again. The two cars fought for track position with Dalziel enjoying a more competitive run on the new set of Yokohama's sitting fourth in class and tenth overall by the end of the first hour.
A handful of laps later and the running order had swapped in favor of De Simone but a tap from Frank Biela's Champion Audi R8 at half distance spun the Maserati off track and into the gravel at Turn 11. A second full course caution followed to extract the stricken car with Dalziel taking advantage of the situation, pitting to hand over control of the Corvette to team-mate Alex Figge.
Proof of the intensity of Dalziel's battle with De Simone was found in damage to the Scot's left rear tire as PCM slapped on a new set of rubber for Figge and topped the American up with fuel. As racing resumed Figge skillfully weaved his
way through the slower GT2 runners as the pack gradually expanded having been grouped tightly together behind the safety car.
Without the attentions of the Maserati to contend with Figge comfortably held fourth in class, the California-native reeling off lap after lap attempting to close the gap to Terry Borcheller a lap ahead in the Saleen S7R having benefited from a 'wave-through' as the safety car toured. Shortly after the two-hour mark, and with rain clouds starting to off-load their contents, a P2 class retirement promoted Alex to ninth overall.
The subsequent exclusion of Miracle Motorsport's P2-leading entry with just 15 minutes remaining further elevated the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette up the overall running order to eighth place while maintaining fourth in class. A late fuel stop by Figge failed to disrupt proceedings and as the checkered flag fell just minutes later the PCM crew duly celebrated their highest GT1 placing yet and a third straight top ten finish.
The factory-backed Corvette Racing C6-R's captured a GT1 1-2 finish for the second successive race with the ACEMCO Motorsport Saleen S7R rounding off the podium celebrations. Dyson Racing captured P1 honors and overall victory, the team scoring their first ever ALMS 1-2 finish.
With many of today's competitors crossing the Atlantic next month to tackle the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, Round 4 of the ALMS is scheduled to take place at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut, 1st-4th July.
Tyler Tadevic - PCM Team Director:
"All in all it's been a pretty good weekend. Our progress with the Menards- Yokohama Corvette is definitely evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary! Fourth place is our best result so far and I firmly believe we're heading in the right direction. We're looking to keep our momentum going with tests at Mosport and Road America. I'm fortunate to be going to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next month and I hope to come back with an invite for the team to race there next season!"
Alex Figge (United States) - PCM Driver:
"I think between Ryan, myself and the engineers we got all we could out of the car this weekend. The track was a little more challenging once it started to get damp and towards the end of the race it was really interesting but we didn't have any issues. Ryan and I didn't put a wheel wrong all day and the team backed us up with great work in the pits. I'm pleased with the outcome and look forward to the next race."
Ryan Dalziel (Scotland) - PCM Driver:
"The team did a great job all weekend and I think fourth in class is a positive result. We were competitive once we put the new Yokohama's on and I found I had a car I could live with after that. It was important to get them on as early as possible without costing us time and we got the break we needed and the result we deserved."