Pacific Coast Motorsports disappointed to leave Laguna empty-handed Ventura, California (May 08, 2006) -- Alex Figge took Pacific Coast Motorsports' ...
Pacific Coast Motorsports disappointed to leave Laguna empty-handed
Ventura, California (May 08, 2006) -- Alex Figge took Pacific Coast Motorsports' #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley all the way to the front of the field in yesterday's 'U.S. Sports Car Invitational' only for the team to see it's efforts thwarted with another frustrating turn of events in a race once again littered with full course cautions.
A second-row qualifying slot, a couple of lead laps and probably one of the fastest Daytona Prototype's on-track wasn't enough to halt the run of bad luck that has haunted the team since the opening round of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series at Daytona back in January with today's 16th place finish in Round 6 at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California proving no different.
With one of the strongest driver pairings in Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel, Pacific Coast Motorsports looked to Laguna to turn their season around and the game plan seemed to be working with Dalziel capturing an encouraging third place finish in yesterday's 30-minute qualifying race. The Scotsman duly handed over the reigns of the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley to American Alex Figge for the start of the 2-hour 45-minute endurance sprint and the Hollywood-native made the most of the team's best grid position of the season.
Darting up the inside line as the 28-strong Daytona Prototype field charged to the first turn, Figge put all his experience at the 2.238-mile permanent road course to good use as he launched himself up to second place. While he dropped back to third on the following lap Figge reveled in the podium-pace offered by the team's Pontiac power unit and comfortably held station throughout his tour of duty.
22 laps in and the second full course caution of the race gave Figge the lead as the pit-lane opened and the leaders pitted. Two laps later and the American pitted with Dalziel jumping in only to find himself back down in 21st when racing resumed. Despite the full course cautions periods that followed, a spirited drive by the 24-year-old launched the #89 car back into the top-ten, fighting for fourth alongside the #19 Ford Crawford and #76 Ford Riley entries with less than an hour to go.
The team's podium challenge came to an abrupt end after the third and final pit-stop. With the car's starter failing, the pit-crew was forced to push Dalziel out of the box to fire up the engine losing valuable time in the process. Having gone a lap down, Ryan was denied the green flag racing he desperately needed to salvage a decent finish as yet more full course cautions disrupted the closing stages of the race, the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms entry eventually taking 16th at the checkered.
Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen steered the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley to today's win, the defending champion's capturing their first victory of the 2006 season.
PCM Team Director Tyler Tadevic:
"We had the pace to run at the front at Laguna and we proved that with the qualifying race. It was a full points paying event and we took a podium finish to set us up with our best grid slot for Sunday's race. Alex ran well but we showed our inexperience a little under the caution as we weren't prepared to pit with the other leaders. Ryan dealt with that though and got the car back up there only for the starter to fail on his final stop. We had to push start him which isn't easy as the pit-lane runs up hill at Laguna and we went a lap down. Once again we showed our potential but we leave frustrated!"
"I had a pretty good stint, it was great to start from the front of the pack and be up there challenging the leader. The #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley was on it all weekend, Ryan did a superb job in the qualifying race and I had a blast with the pace demonstrated in the race. It was unfortunate that we lost out in the first stop but Ryan got us back up there. It's really frustrating to have the pace that we had today to then come away with a 16th place finish following the starter problems."
"I'm gutted to be honest! We had a podium finish in yesterday's qualifying race and basically the car should have finished there today as well. I proved after the driver change over that we had the speed to climb back through the field but after the final stop there were just too many full course cautions for me to be able to race back up and utilize the pace in the car. We'll take the positives from the weekend and hope for better luck in Phoenix."
Round 7 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series heads east to Phoenix, Arizona with the 'GAINSCO Grand Prix' hosted at the Phoenix International Raceway next weekend, 11-13 May.