Dalziel's hopes of a podium stalled at Laguna Orlando, Florida (May 08, 2006) -- Ryan Dalziel was left to rue what could well have been a podium finish in yesterday's 'U.S. Sports Car Invitational' at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California ...
Dalziel's hopes of a podium stalled at Laguna
Orlando, Florida (May 08, 2006) -- Ryan Dalziel was left to rue what could well have been a podium finish in yesterday's 'U.S. Sports Car Invitational' at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California had the starter not failed on his Pacific Coast Motorsports #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley during his final pit stop in Round 7 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
The 24-year-old Scot had been reveling in the pace of the team's Daytona Prototype entry, with Ryan and his American team-mate, Alex Figge, desperate to end a series of luckless races following strong showings throughout the previous five meetings in their 'rookie' Rolex Sports Car Series season.
The weekend began well with the #89 car running up amongst the pace setters with Ryan carrying that form through into Saturday's Daytona Prototype qualifying race. The 30-minute sprint round the 2.238-mile Californian permanent road course brought with it full points paying positions and Ryan duly steered his way to third place to set team-mate Figge up with a second row grid slot for Sunday's 2-hour 45-minute charge.
The American made the most of the team's best ever qualifying position and ran with the leaders until he himself assumed the lead on lap 22 under a full course caution period. Two laps later and Dalziel took control behind the wheel and despite dropping down as low as 21st when green flag racing resumed he maximized the front-running pace of the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley to climb as high as sixth, and challenge for fifth and fourth places, with less than an hour remaining.
Just as it looked like Ryan was on course for the team's first top-six result, and potentially a podium, since Mexico City at the end of last year disaster struck in the pits. With his starter failing the PCM crew had to manually push Dalziel out of the pit-box, no mean feat given the inclination at Laguna. Dropping a lap down Ryan would finish the race in 16th place.
Frustrated by another promising run with nothing to show at the flag Dalziel said:
"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 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."
Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen steered the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley to today's win, the defending champions capturing their first victory of the 2006 season.