Dalziel ninth in 'VIR 400' Orlando, Florida (October 10, 2005) -- The penultimate round of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, yesterday's 'VIR 400' at Virginia International Raceway, finally brought a change of fortune for...
Dalziel ninth in 'VIR 400'
Orlando, Florida (October 10, 2005) -- The penultimate round of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, yesterday's 'VIR 400' at Virginia International Raceway, finally brought a change of fortune for Scotland's Ryan Dalziel and America's Mark Greenberg as they paired together in the #71 SAMAX Racing Porsche GT3 for a ninth place GT class finish.
The result marks the first time the duo have recorded a checkered flag finish in four Grand-Am attempts. Dalziel, who earlier in the season recorded a GT class podium finish at Daytona alongside his brother, John, first partnered with car-owner Greenberg back in June at Watkins Glen, followed by starts at Mid-Ohio in August and a return to Watkins Glen last month.
Mechanical issues have denied them the ability to show their strengths in each of their previous three starts but yesterday's 2-hour 45-minute endurance sprint on the 3.27-mile Virginia International Raceway rewarded their determination with a run to the checkered flag and a top-ten GT result.
With heavy rain putting paid to any hopes of qualifying on Saturday, the grid for Sunday's race was determined by the championship standings. Mark Greenberg would take the start 19th on the grid but a broken roll bar on the opening lap proved to be an early test of reliability for the #71 entry. If that wasn't enough to contend with the car then lost second gear on the very next lap.
Dalziel took the wheel after the first thirty minutes of racing but almost immediately found himself two-laps down on the leaders following a safety car period and the shuffling of the order to allow the front-running Daytona Prototype's through.
Unperturbed, the 23-year-old Scot set to work heading for the top ten in class and he duly picked his way through the slower competition. A fuel strategy gamble failed to reap further rewards but none-the-less at the end of the race and with 72-laps completed, Dalziel and Greenberg were finally able to savor their first finish together in ninth place with the GT win going to the #21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3.
"I'm really pleased that Mark and I get to celebrate a checkered flag finish," Ryan commented after the race. "We've had some bad luck together so it's satisfying to break into the top ten here in Virginia despite some early issues with the car. This was my first visit to the Virginia International Raceway and I have to say it's a great track. I think the damp weather caught a few people out today and it made for some interesting moments but all in all it's been an enjoyable weekend for me in my last outing for the team this season."