Weird Watkins Weekend Limits Dalziel and SAMAX
Orlando, Florida (June 09, 2008) – Ryan Dalziel’s hope of consecutive Grand-Am Daytona Prototype victories were quickly diminished last Saturday, 7th June, as an oil-leak in the first fifteen minutes of the ‘Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen’, Round 6 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, put the #2 SAMAX Motorsport BMW-Riley three laps down at the Watkins Glen International Circuit in New York.
The 26-year-old Scot, triumphant in the previous round at Laguna Seca, was partnered for Saturday’s six hour endurance event at the 3.4-mile permanent road course by regular team-mate Henri Zogaib and Canada’s David Empringham. Zogaib qualified the SAMAX entry 15th in class and was behind the wheel for the opening stint when an oil-leak forced the Florida-based outfit to go three laps down for immediate repairs to the car.
While the car rejoined and was again immediately competitive, the track time lost would prove almost impossible to make up despite the time remaining in the race. Empringham replaced Zogaib before handing over to Ryan who in turn drove a blistering double-stint in extreme heat – a factor in Saturday’s event that tested the physical limits of all competitors.
In a race that contained nine caution periods for a total of 27 laps, the #2 SAMAX entry failed to catch a break with no waive-by’s under the yellows to help them get their lost laps back. Dalziel finished the race, driving a stint and a half having earlier been relieved from his arduous ‘double’ by Empringham. A late race brake issue once again saw the team frantic in pit-lane but again the pace of the car had proved to be the measure of the leaders throughout. Ryan took the checkered flag after a grueling six hours in 15th, four-laps down on the race winning entry of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus-Riley.
“It just wasn’t our weekend,” said Dalziel looking back on his latest Watkins experience. “We were on the back foot almost from the off with the oil leak in the opening stint. It was a weird race to be honest as we just failed to catch any breaks in terms of getting our laps back and holding on to them. We got within a lap and a half of the lead lap at one point but again, things just didn’t go our way and we ended up dropping back.
“On top of everything else the heat out there was unbelievable. Without a doubt it was one of the hardest, most physical races I’ve ever competed in. We again had a quick car, the team performed well but we didn’t have luck on our side so it wasn’t to be which is a shame!”
Round 7 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, the ‘EMCO Gears Classic’, takes place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, Friday 20th – Saturday 21st June – www.grand-am.com.