Pace-setters Dalziel and Sierra Sierra wrap up pre-season testing The start of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship, hosted at next weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (16-18th April), can't come quickly enough now for Ryan Dalziel and...
Pace-setters Dalziel and Sierra Sierra wrap up pre-season testing
The start of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship, hosted at next weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (16-18th April), can't come quickly enough now for Ryan Dalziel and the Sierra Sierra Enterprises team. Wrapping up pre-season testing yesterday (Friday 9th April) with a two-day run in the team's home state of Nevada at the Motorsports Park, Pahrump, the Scottish charger once again topped the unofficial timesheets, continuing the Dalziel / Sierra Sierra domination in all 2004 test events.
With last season's campaign yielding nine podium finishes, including two victories, from 12 races, the relationship between the Sierra Sierra Enterprises squad and the 21-year-old Dalziel looks set to lead to further success as both parties focused this week's test at Pahrump on set-up for the season opener at Long Beach. Ryan was once again joined by rookie team-mate Andrew Ranger and while both cars were booked to run a full two day program the team packed up at lunchtime yesterday, content with the mileage and set-up packages tested in preparation for Round 1 in California.
Ryan is keen to make amends at Long Beach. Having just missed out on a front-row start at the prestigious venue last year, the Scot spun while attacking Canadian rival Jonathan Macri in the early stages of the race. Before he could complete a recovery he was collected by his team-mate and subsequently forced into retirement. Ryan, showcasing his unceasing determination, bounced back from the incident at the next race to claim his first Toyota Atlantic victory at the Milwaukee Mile -- dominating the weekend's proceedings.
Post-test Dalziel commented: "I'm delighted that we've been able to set the pace at every test we've attended this season. I actually hold the lap record here at Pahrump but with the new 2004 aero packages on the Toyota Atlantic cars we've been unable to challenge my previous best but we were quickest overall and that's what counts heading to California. We're really working well together and as far as pre-season preparations go I really can't see what more we could do to prepare for the new campaign. My focus is very much on winning at Long Beach and getting the year off to the best possible start!"
Prior to his arrival at Long Beach Ryan has to switch disciplines from driver to driver-coach, mentoring Sierra Sierra owners' Dennis and Diane Kottke's grandson Connor as he competes in his first ever kart event at Sears Point. Ryan then heads south to Long Beach where his schedule includes a host of off-track activities before he's unleashed on the 1.9-mile temporary street circuit in Friday's opening practice session.