Toronto: Ryan Dalziel preview

Dalziel targeting Toronto top step With pole position, fastest lap of the race and a flag-to-flag victory, it was safe to assume Ryan Dalziel left Cleveland on Saturday fairly happy with the weekend's turn of events. Perhaps more importantly ...

Dalziel targeting Toronto top step

With pole position, fastest lap of the race and a flag-to-flag victory, it was safe to assume Ryan Dalziel left Cleveland on Saturday fairly happy with the weekend's turn of events. Perhaps more importantly to the Orlando-based Scot, his title ambitions were boosted by his Round 6 win as he now lies just three points behind series leader Jon Fogarty heading into Round 7 in Toronto this weekend.

The race in Cleveland marked the half-way point of the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship. To-date Ryan has raced the #28 ProWorks entry to two victories, one second place, three pole positions and three fastest race laps. Impressive statistics for last year's runner-up but for Dalziel he knows he has had the pace to lead the championship throughout the year had it not been for some bad luck.

Having dominated qualifying in Monterrey, Mexico in the second round Dalziel was duly punted off track on the run to the first corner. Showing his 'never say die' attitude Ryan raced back to the pits for repairs. He rejoined last but clawed his way back to eighth place by the chequered flag. More drama was to follow as Ryan ran comfortably in second place at the Milwaukee Mile in Round 3. With just five laps to go Dalziel spun out trying to avoid a spinning back marker on the historic oval. It was a tough blow for the 22-year-old as he surrendered the lead of the series for the first time.

The double-header at Portland last month saw Dalziel back to form with a solid fifth place finish in Round 4 before he returned to the podium for the first time since his opening round victory at Long Beach, with a second place finish in Round 5. The trip to Oregon provided Dalziel and the Sierra Sierra Enterprises team with the catalyst for their success in Cleveland last weekend.

Ryan topped the time sheets in every session on the temporary road course at Burke Lakefront Airport. His superiority translated through qualifying and into the race itself where the Scot was simply unbeatable. Not even a late caution period could dent Dalziel's hopes of the win as he controlled the re-start to his advantage to triumph over American's Bryan Sellers and Danica Patrick on Independence weekend.

Back-to-back races see the Toyota Atlantic field cross the border into Canada for the Molson Indy Toronto this weekend (9th-11th July). The first of three scheduled races in Canada, Dalziel's sights are set firmly on the top step of the podium once more, the 1.755-mile temporary street circuit one of the Scottish racer's favorites on the 12-race calendar.

"Toronto's just a great race weekend," Dalziel enthused. "Obviously we're coming into the event following a strong showing in Cleveland and I'll be disappointed if we can't keep the momentum flowing."

He continued, "I know we have a good street racing car and the track here in downtown Toronto is definitely one of the best in North America. From our experiences here last season I know we'll have made some gains and I'll be looking to further improve the car as the sessions pass. I can't wait to get behind the wheel on Friday!"

Sunday's race (11th July), Round 7 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship, is set to start at 10:30am with the Molson Indy Champ Car World Series race taking to the streets of Toronto at 1:30pm Eastern Time.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Jon Fogarty , Bryan Sellers , Danica Patrick