Pacific Coast Motorsports bumped and banged at Long Beach Long Beach, California (April 9, 2006) -- The race might have been shorter than usual but the action on track was no less frantic as Pacific Coast Motorsports, campaigning the ...
Pacific Coast Motorsports bumped and banged at Long Beach
Long Beach, California (April 9, 2006) -- The race might have been shorter than usual but the action on track was no less frantic as Pacific Coast Motorsports, campaigning the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Pontiac Riley, lined up yesterday alongside 25 Daytona Prototype rivals on the streets of Long Beach, California for the fourth round of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series -- the 'Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach'.
The 90-minute sprint round the famous 1.968-mile temporary street course proved to be another frustrating event for the #89 car, driven by Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel. Taking the checkered flag 16th, the team were left to rue what was a certain top-eight finish as Dalziel, four laps shy of the finish, was spun out at Turn 1 by current series champion, Max Angelelli in the #10 Pontiac Riley.
Alex Figge started the race from tenth on the grid having been forced to qualify the car the day before minus any traction control -- an electrical gremlin at the end of practice causing the problem. With the team not allowed to work on the car before qualifying, Figge had to drive with what he had and the American successfully hustled his way into the top-ten.
With a top-five finish in Long Beach to his credit in the Toyota Atlantic Championship back in 2003, Figge took the start in yesterday's race and quickly picked off a couple of places to move up to eighth in the opening laps. By lap 10 he was involved in a thrilling fight for sixth place with the #39 Porsche and the #99 and #12 Pontiac's.
Just one lap later however an horrific accident, caused by the #8 Synergy Racing Porsche slowing on the main straight and subsequently being collected by the #39 Cheever Racing and #25 Blackhawk Racing Pontiac respectively, forced the first full-course caution of the day. Figge, who was directly behind, was lucky to avoid the incident and the debris that showered the track in the immediate aftermath.
Taking the caution period to fuel up and swap drivers, Ryan Dalziel replaced Figge behind the wheel but he wouldn't start racing for close to 30 minutes as the field continued to tour behind the safety car as the track was cleared of all debris.
When racing resumed on lap 22 Dalziel was sixth and challenging Max Angelelli. Two laps later Ryan made his move on the approach to Turn 1 only for the Italian to defend his line by banging into the Scotsman. Dalziel ran deep into the braking zone and straight into the tire barrier, followed behind by Angelelli. While they got going again Dalziel was penalized by race officials, the former Long Beach race winner forced to serve a drive-through penalty for what was clearly nothing more than a racing incident.
It wasn't the last time the two drivers would clash as they battled to make up for lost position. Having dropped to the back of the field, Dalziel at least had the benefit of a fast car beneath him and he fought his way back up the order as two additional full course cautions disrupted the flow of the race.
Having climbed back to ninth in the dying stages Ryan found himself behind Max Angelelli once again. With the Italian blocking Dalziel's every move, he finally shook off the PCM driver's advances at Turn 1 by banging into him one final time and spinning him out with four laps remaining. Ryan got going again in the #89 Playboy/Vonage/Palms entry to cross the line in a disappointing 16th place -- the Scot furious at the behavior of the reigning champion.
The 52-lap race was won by pole-sitters, Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz in the Ganassi #01 Lexus Riley, their second victory of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series.
PCM Team Director, Tyler Tadevic:
"I'm obviously disappointed as we should have had a much better result given we had a fast car for this race. We didn't qualify where we should have but Alex did a great job considering the car had no traction control. The car was quick again in warm-up and Alex made up some ground at the start. He did well to avoid the major incident on lap 11.
"I have to say we thought Ryan's penalty was totally unfair, in our opinion it was just a racing incident. Max continued to block Ryan at the end of the race and we ended up losing out. I have to question the wisdom of some of the officiating for this particular event but next time we'll just make sure we're ahead of these guys. I'm proud to continue to represent our team partners and I hope we get the result we deserve next time out."
"An eventful race all round! I thought Max Angelelli's driving was a disgrace and totally unacceptable for the current champion. We both came off badly as a result the first time. I don't think I should have been penalized for that clash and then he went and spun me out at the end of the race having banged into me several more times. I'm pretty angry!"
"I was really fortunate to miss the big accident during my stint. I hope Rocky Moran's ok as he hit the #8 car pretty hard -- I hope they get the Blackhawk Racing entry up and running for the next race in a couple of weeks. It was great to be back at Long Beach but the end result certainly wasn't what we were aiming for at our 'home' event!"