Road America: Road America: Ryan Dalziel race notes

160mph blowout destroys Dalziel's podium hopes Scotland's Ryan Dalziel survived a terrifying 160mph tire blow out yesterday, Sunday 21st August, behind the wheel of Pacific Coast Motorsports ...

160mph blowout destroys Dalziel's podium hopes

Scotland's Ryan Dalziel survived a terrifying 160mph tire blow out yesterday, Sunday 21st August, behind the wheel of Pacific Coast Motorsports #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R at the 'Generac 500 at Road America', Round 7 of the 2005 American Le Mans Series.

The 23-year-old sports car rookie was all set for his second successive GT1 podium finish, sitting third in class partnering American Alex Figge, before his left-rear tire blew out approaching Turn 5 causing irreparable damage to the bodywork of the privateer C5-R with just twenty minutes of the 2-hour 45-minute endurance sprint remaining.

The day started on a positive note as clear blue skies greeted the ALMS field as they lined up to tackle the 4.048-mile layout at Road America. Ryan was first up in the driving seat and he immediately got the jump on the #35 Maserati MC12 at the start to move from fifth in class to fourth. While the order was soon reversed Dalziel's pace ensured he shadowed the Italian car's every move throughout the opening laps.

Ryan survived an early scare having been hit by the damaged #10 Miracle Motorsports entry driven by Chris McMurry, the P2 racer himself a victim of a collision with GT1 racer Johnny Mowlem in the #63 Saleen S7R. As the race quickly settled down Dalziel's focus was fixed on passing the Maserati just four tenths of a second ahead of him after thirty minutes of racing.

PCM ultimately won the battle for fourth in the pits as the team took advantage of the first full course caution of the day with Ryan handing driving duties to team-mate Figge. Racing resumed twenty minutes later and Alex found himself eighth overall and fourth in class behind the leading Corvette C6-R's and the Saleen S7R. Figge kept the #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R in the thick of the action and moved up to third behind Corvette's factory racers, Ron Fellows and Olivier Beretta.

With two hours on the clock the team called Figge to the pits and Ryan strapped back in for his second tour of duty at the Elkhart Lake track, the Orlando-resident looking good to take PCM to another podium finish following their third place celebration at Portland last time out. It wasn't to be for team or driver however as the left-rear tire on the C5-R blew out as Ryan barreled along the straight approaching Turn 5.

Showcasing exceptional skill behind the wheel, Ryan brought his stricken ride under control from 160mph but the damage to the chassis would force the independent Corvette into retirement for only the second time this season.

Reflecting on his wild ride and the potential for another GT1 podium Ryan remarked:

"We had third place in the bag today and I'm just sorry for the whole team that our day ended the way it did. We were probably more competitive today than at any other time in the season, certainly our fuel strategy was working to perfection and our pace compared to the others was greatly increased.

"When the tire blew it was pretty hairy but thankfully I kept the car off the barriers and nobody else was involved. We're not quite sure what happened yet. I might have collected some debris which caused the tire to let go but we'll need to investigate further. Up to that point our Yokohama's were doing the business and I'd have loved to have been back on the podium with Alex for a second time. The team deserved the result but it wasn't to be as the damage on the car was too great to even attempt to nurse it back to the pits!"

GT1 honors went to Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta in the #4 Corvette Racing C6-R while Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela celebrated P1 and outright victory in the #2 Champion Racing Audi R8.

-pcm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Oliver Gavin , Chris McMurry , Johnny Mowlem , Olivier Beretta , Emanuele Pirro