Scotland's Ryan Dalziel signed off on another year of outstanding racing in the Toyota Atlantic Championship by winning the prestigious Gilles Villeneuve Award at the end-of-season banquet hosted on Sunday night (12th September) at the Hyatt...
Scotland's Ryan Dalziel signed off on another year of outstanding racing in the Toyota Atlantic Championship by winning the prestigious Gilles Villeneuve Award at the end-of-season banquet hosted on Sunday night (12th September) at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California.
Earlier in the day the 22-year-old from Lanarkshire sealed the series runner-up position, for the second consecutive season, having taken the fight for the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship all the way to the 12th and final round against America's Jon Fogarty. While Dalziel was denied the opportunity to challenge Fogarty from his second place starting position following a start-line violation at Laguna Seca, the Sierra Sierra Enterprises racer added to his points total to finish the year on 307, just 18 points behind eventual Round 12 race winner and subsequent champion Fogarty and 40 points clear of Danica Patrick in third place.
Ryan was presented with the Gilles Villeneuve Award on Sunday evening as the Toyota Atlantic field, officials, sponsors and families gathered for one last time this year. The Gilles Villeneuve Award, named after the legendary Canadian Formula One star and 1976 Toyota Atlantic Champion, is traditionally awarded to the driver in the series who posses extraordinary ability, star quality and who has distinguished himself through sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance in the face of disappointment.
Ryan's four wins, including back-to-back victories in Vancouver and Road America, three second place finishes, five pole positions and five fastest race laps further cemented his reputation as one of open-wheel racing's most promising talents. His perseverance has been tested on several occasions this season, most notably being taken out of Round 2 in Mexico at the first turn having led from pole position and a huge crash in practice at Road America ahead of Round 9 thanks to a brake failure - Dalziel subsequently regrouped to dominate the weekend.
On receiving the Gilles Villeneuve Award Ryan commented:
"It's simply a pleasure to win such a prestigious award. Gilles Villeneuve is a legend in motorsport and to receive an award named in his honor is something I'm really proud of. It's been a great year for me driving for Sierra Sierra Enterprises where we've continued to build on our successes from 2003.
"Obviously it's disappointing to have had a great season and not win the championship but I didn't make it easy for Jon! I've beaten my previous personal-bests for wins and poles in a single season and I'm looking to carry that momentum forward into next year."
In addition to Ryan's triumphs Sierra Sierra Enterprises celebrated further successes on Sunday evening with Ryan's mechanic, Jethro Austin, named as 'Mechanic of the Year' while Andrew Ranger, driver of the team's second car, collected the 'Rookie of the Year' honor.