Dalziel's Montreal pole winner denied Having tied the lead of the championship yesterday in Montreal courtesy of his provisional pole position, Ryan Dalziel was today denied the opportunity to take the lead outright in Saturday qualifying ...
Dalziel's Montreal pole winner denied
Having tied the lead of the championship yesterday in Montreal courtesy of his provisional pole position, Ryan Dalziel was today denied the opportunity to take the lead outright in Saturday qualifying despite setting the fastest lap of the session.
The Scottish title hopeful had his best lap time of 1m32.801s, set in the dying stages of the 30-minute session, disallowed as a result of a controversial issue centering on the timing beam at the final chicane. Dalziel now lines up second on the grid for tomorrow's 25-lap race round the historic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve thanks to his second best lap time of 1m32.960s - a mere 500ths of a second behind title rival Jon Fogarty's declared pole winner of 1m32.913s.
Dalziel, behind the wheel of the #28 ProWorks Sierra Sierra Enterprises entry, has piloted the fastest car on track all weekend, the 22-year-old heading the timesheets once again in this morning's free practice session with a hot lap of 1m34.827s - half a second quicker than Fogarty's second place time.
Mindful of the fact that today's bonus point for leading qualifying would edge him into the championship lead, Ryan's focus this afternoon was simply to go for it and more importantly claim the clean line heading into the first turn in tomorrow's race by securing pole.
Ultimately Dalziel's fastest time was denied as he was deemed to have cut the course at the final chicane with the resulting penalty being the loss of that lap time and the one following. The controversy arises from the placing of the timing beam. If the final chicane was taken wide through a certain line, with no actual on track advantage, and the beam subsequently not broken by the passing car transponder, a result of the Atlantic cars being narrower than their Champ Car counterparts, the driver was penalized as numerous people found out to their cost today.
Following the session Ryan expressed his views on the incident:
"Needless to say I'm really disappointed with the outcome of the session. We had the pole time and we've had the quickest car all weekend so it's a massive disappointment for the whole team. We made changes during the session that moved us forward and it's frustrating not to get the just reward for those efforts. I have to look at the positives though and I'm on the front row and I know we'll be quick tomorrow. I feel somewhat vindicated now that the officials have reviewed the situation and announced changes for tomorrow."
Officials have subsequently overturned the ruling at the chicane following protests from both the Toyota Atlantic and Champ Car paddocks. They have duly acknowledged that the timing beam wasn't acceptable for Toyota Atlantic cars and tomorrow they will revert back to the regular ruling where a visual will be taken to determine if a driver has gained an advantage by cutting the chicane.
Unfortunately for Ryan this ruling has not been backdated by officials and he is therefore denied pole position despite setting the fastest time in today's session.
Sunday's race, Round 11 of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship - the Molson Indy Montreal, is scheduled to start at 11am Eastern Time. Full event details and live timings as well as Sunday's race results and points table will be available online at www.toyotaatlantic.com