Early Set-Back Dashes Dalziels Daytona Hopes
Orlando, Florida (30 January, 2011) – Ryan Dalziel’s hopes of a second consecutive win at the ‘Rolex 24 At Daytona’ were dashed early through contact, and eventually retirement five hours from the checkered flag, as the Scotsman endured a forgettable opening round of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series at the Daytona International Speedway, Florida, Saturday 29th – Sunday 30th January.
Piloting the #8 Miracle Grout Shield Ford Riley Daytona Prototype for Starworks Motorsport, Dalziel’s hopes were high having qualified fourth on the grid on Thursday and the highest-ranked Ford-powered entrant. A solid opening stint by the 28-year-old Orlando resident kept the car he was sharing with Tomas Enge (CZE), Mike Forest (CAN), Colin Braun (USA) and Jim Lowe (USA), firmly in the fight as the field lapped the 3.56-mile part oval, part road course layout to start the endurance classic.
Disaster struck in the form of contact with the #23 United Autosports entry as team-mate Enge exited the pits during an early run, effectively ending any hopes of a Starworks Motorsport victory as the #8 car dropped down the order for repair damage. As the team fought to reclaim lost laps, further mechanical issues, directly relating to the earlier incident, would claim more time behind the pit-wall and eventually force their ultimate retirement on Sunday morning with 552 laps recorded and five hours remaining on the clock.
“Well sadly it was everything that happened to the car after the off that cost us our shot at the win today,” stated a disappointed Dalziel post-race. “It was an oil leak at the end there that led to us stopping as we didn’t want to risk blowing the motor. We were stopping about every thirty minutes to top up with oil and we really had nothing to gain by that stage so we called it.
“If we hadn’t had our issues then we would definitely have been in the mix, we proved that in testing and in qualifying as the strongest Ford runner. I was happy with my stints, especially at the start where we were up against the best of the best and one of the fastest cars on track. It just wasn’t to be but we look ahead now and move on!”
The 49th edition of the ‘Rolex 24 At Daytona’ was won by the reigning Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, together with Graham Rahal and Joey Hand racing the #1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry.
A month-long break follows for Dalziel before Round 2 of the 12-race season sees the Scot partner with Mike Forest at the ‘Grand Prix of Miami’, hosted at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Friday 4th – Saturday 5th March 2011.
For further information on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series log on to: www.grand-am.com.