DALZIEL AND DUMOULIN POWER SAMAX MOTORSPORT TO A FOURTH-PLACE FINISH IN VIRGINIA Sunday, April 29, 2007 - SAMAX Motorsport bullpen drivers Ryan Dalziel from Scotland and Jean-Francois Dumoulin of Trois-RiviÃ¨res, Quebec powered their way to a...
DALZIEL AND DUMOULIN POWER SAMAX MOTORSPORT TO A FOURTH-PLACE FINISH IN VIRGINIA
Sunday, April 29, 2007 - SAMAX Motorsport bullpen drivers Ryan Dalziel from Scotland and Jean-Francois Dumoulin of Trois-Rivières, Quebec powered their way to a fourth-place finish on Sunday in Round 4 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Virginia International Speedway (VIR). The two drivers were filling in for Milka Duno, who is now running in the Indy Racing League, and Patrick Carpentier, who missed the 400-kilometer race due to a family medical emergency.
Starting ninth after qualifying the Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype on Saturday, Dumoulin held his own in the first stint of the race prior to the initial round of pit stops on lap 9 following a full course yellow. Now working against the number one drivers who had replaced the starters, the French Canadian driver maintained the pace of the leaders until lap 40, when he handed over the car in 11th place to his teammate Dalziel.
The SAMAX team pitted Dumoulin earlier than the rest of the field for their final stop. This situation, along with a full course caution on lap 47, helped Dalziel to move up the field quickly as the other teams came in after him for their last stop. However, that decision to come in early would come back to haunt the team at the end of the race. On lap 48, Dalziel was third and held firm until the 76th and penultimate lap when a dry fuel tank cut out the engine power, as he was about to receive the checkered flag. It allowed David Donohue, who was right on his tail, to steal a podium finish away from the #11 SAMAX Motorsport entry.
Polesitter Colin Braun led twice for 34 laps before handing over his Krohn Racing Pontiac to teammate Max Papis. However, the Italian driver, who led from lap 47 to 52, was unable to fend off fellow countryman Max Angelelli, relishing first-place to the Sun Trust Racing Pontiac Riley. Angelelli stayed the course and crossed the finish line 3.5 seconds ahead of Papis and six seconds ahead of Donohue. Dalziel managed to cruise across the finish line two seconds back of Donohue. Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty finished fifth.
"I don't want to talk about the finish," said Dalziel before explaining what happened when he ran out of fuel. "All weekend long, we had radio communication problems and this created the situation we faced at the end of the race. It was a great strategy to come in early as we moved from 16th when I rejoined the field following the final pit stop all the way to third when the yellow came out on lap 47. The outcome is disappointing, but overall we had a very positive race. From a team standpoint, fourth place is great, but a podium-finish would have been better."
As for Dumoulin, he enjoyed his very first Daytona Prototype start. "We came so close to a podium finish, said the Canadian driver. It was a nail biter, as we knew in the booth that it was going to be very close at the end. At the start of the race, I had a great time, as I was able to maintain my position and fend off those trying to get by me. However, after the first stop and the driver change for most teams, the car was understeering and that caused me problems in the braking zones. Those guys brake really late and I was unable to go as far as they did because I had minor problems with the seat. Still, I only lost a couple of positions against seasoned drivers. I learned a lot battling with them and overall, it was a great experience."
SAMAX Motorsport remains in third place in the provisional Team Standings with 110 points, six away from second-place Ganassi. With the win by Jan Magnussen and Angelelli, Sun Trust Racing moves into first place with 127 points. SAMAX finished second in the season opener at Daytona in late January and missed a Top-10 finish in the caution-free Mexico City race in early March. It rebounded with a fourth at Homestead-Miami a month ago and another fourth place finish on Sunday in Virginia.
Round five of the 2007 14-race Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California the weekend of May 18-20, 2007.