Dalziel partners with Figge for maiden GT1 podium Portland, Oregon (July 31, 2005) -- Ryan Dalziel graced the American Le Mans Series podium for the first time in his 'rookie' sports car season yesterday, Saturday 30th July, as together with ...
Dalziel partners with Figge for maiden GT1 podium
Portland, Oregon (July 31, 2005) -- Ryan Dalziel graced the American Le Mans Series podium for the first time in his 'rookie' sports car season yesterday, Saturday 30th July, as together with Pacific Coast Motorsports team-mate Alex Figge, the Scottish racer helped steer the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R to a third place GT1 finish in the 'Portland Grand Prix', round six of the 2005 ALMS Championship.
The #4 Corvette Racing C6-R, driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Berretta, took class honors followed closely by the sister #3 entry with Johnny O'Connell and Ron Fellows behind the wheel. Dalziel and Figge capped the Corvette celebrations just a lap behind the factory-supported C6-R entries, powering the privateer C5-R to its highest class finish of the season and rewarding the PCM crew with a well deserved podium finish and eighth overall.
A day earlier Ryan participated in the closest qualifying session of the year as the GT1 cars hit the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway to determine yesterday's starting line-up. At the end of the twenty minute session Dalziel qualified fifth fastest with a mere eight tenths of a second the difference between the 23-year-old Scot and the four class rivals ahead of him. Ryan's best lap of 1m08.940s was a tenth of a second off the Maserati MC12 and eight tenths off of the pole winning time of 1m08.193 set by the leading #4 C6-R.
The form book went out the window at the start of yesterday's 2-hour 45-minute endurance sprint as the C6-R's surrendered the GT1 lead at the very first turn to the #63 Saleen SR7. Ryan's team-mate Alex Figge started for PCM and held fifth while chasing down the Maserati MC12. At the front normal order was restored just after the half hour mark as Berretta's C6-R passed Terry Borcheller in the Saleen for the class lead.
Thirty minutes later the first full course caution of the day prompted a flurry of activity in the pits as the field took advantage of JJ Lehto's accident in the Audi R8 to change tires, refuel and swap drivers. In GT1 the Saleen SR7 was caught in the wake of flying debris from Lehto's car and was subsequently forced to retire.
Figge, now ahead of the Maserati MC12 on track, ducked into the pits to hand over control of the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R to Ryan. Another faultless performance from the PCM pit crew allowed Dalziel to hit the track just before the green flag signaled the race was back on. With 69-laps completed and an hour and a half on the clock, Ryan comfortably held third place just a lap down on the leading Corvette C6-R's.
A second full course caution period forty minutes later allowed Dalziel to return to the pits safely for a splash of fuel and four new Yokohama's. With PCM opting to keep Ryan in the car for the closing stages, the Orlando-resident fired himself back on track with 45 minutes remaining as the track returned to green. With the remainder of the race proving incident free for the #5 Corvette C5-R, Dalziel's mission was simple -- bring the car home on the podium!
Ryan duly delivered at the checkered flag with the PCM pit box erupting as they celebrated their maiden sports car podium. It was an even sweeter result for the team as they bounced back in style from the disappointment of posting their first DNF of the year two weeks ago at Sonoma.
Outright race honors went to Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro in the LM1-entered Champion Audi R8, the duo's second straight ALMS victory.
Commenting before the podium celebrations kicked into full swing Dalziel remarked:
"This team is used to winning and our result here at Portland puts us on the right track for future successes. We had some issues but we fought round them and still outpaced the likes of the Maserati. We had a bit of luck with the Saleen dropping out but these things happen and we took advantage of the situation.
"I'm delighted for the crew as they all work extremely hard and July's been a really busy month with three ALMS events to contest! I enjoyed my double-stint behind the wheel and look forward to a return to the podium hopefully next time out at Road America!"
Next up on the schedule for the PCM crew is a trip to Road America for Round 7 of the American Le Mans Series, 19th-21st August.
Further information -- www.americanlemans.com / www.pcmracing.com