Stellar Drive Earns Dalziel Grand-Am Podium
- 28 April 2008
Orlando, Florida (April 28, 2008) – Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel delivered a stand-out performance in Sunday’s ‘Bosch Engineering 250’ at the Virginia International Raceway as he powered the #2 SAMAX Motorsport BMW-Riley Daytona Prototype to a second place podium finish in the fourth round of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16.
Dalziel, together with his team-mate Henri Zogaib, graced the Grand-Am podium for the first time this season as the duo overcame a gearbox failure on the first lap of qualifying on Saturday to turn things around with a stellar performance when it mattered most.
With a grid of 35 cars entered, 19 of which made up the ultra-competitive Daytona Prototype division, Zogaib started Sunday’s 250-mile race deep in the pack after the disappointment of the previous day’s qualifying campaign. An early full course caution saw the SAMAX squad call Zogaib to pit-lane while on the lead lap and Dalziel duly strapped in behind the wheel of the BMW-Riley ready for the charge of his life when green-flag racing resumed.
Citing the 3.27-mile permanent road-course as one of his favorites, the 26-year-old Scotsman made light work of the opposition as he began his sprint towards the front-end of the race. Such was his pace Dalziel had cracked the top-five by lap 24 and he soon found himself running fourth overall on the tail of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus-Riley being driven by former champion Scott Pruett in third.
Lap 42 saw Ryan climb to second with the #76 Krohn Racing entry, driven by Nic Jonsson, enjoying the lead of the race. Five laps later and it was Dalziel’s turn to lead briefly as Jonsson pitted before the Scot followed suit – the SAMAX pit crew once again flawless in executing their duties. A full course caution on lap 56 slowed the field but when the on-track action commenced, with forty five minutes of racing left, the fight for the lead began in earnest between Pruett and Dalziel. Virtually running nose to tail through to the checkered at the end of lap 77, the American successfully fended off the advances of the ever-present Scotsman, Pruett crossing the line for the victory a mere 0.5 seconds ahead of Dalziel.
While he was narrowly beaten and therefore denied his maiden Grand-Am victory, Ryan’s turn of speed was underlined having set the fastest three laps of the race. Regardless, Dalziel, together with Zogaib, celebrated his first podium finish of the season and third career Daytona Prototype runner-up spot following second place finishes in last season’s ‘Rolex 24 at Daytona’ and ‘Sunchaser 1000’.
“We definitely needed a result like this to build some momentum,” commented Dalziel. “Realistically I knew we could achieve a result like this despite our starting position. I knew the car was fast and that if we stayed on the lead lap we could make our way to the front. The whole team performed faultlessly today, our pit stops were just unbelievable. You want to reach the podium as quickly as possible so it’s good that we’ve got that under our belt now and it was great to be up there racing with an experienced guy like Scott at the head of the pack, he’s a clean racer and we had a good battle for the lead.”
SPEED will air the ‘Bosch Engineering 250’ race from Virginia International Raceway as a tape-delayed broadcast starting at Noon EST on Saturday 3rd May – www.speedtv.com
Round 5 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the ‘Monterey Festival of Speed 250’, takes place at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California, Friday 16th – Saturday 17th May – www.grand-am.com.