Dalziel Podiums at Barber Motorsport Park
Scotsman Scores First Top-Three of Grand-Am Season
Orlando, Florida – Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel made a welcome return to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series podium at the weekend, taking a third place finish together with team-mate Mike Forest for Starworks Motorsport in Round 3, the ‘Porsche 250’, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
Q: Having qualified 9th, did you feel a podium finish at Barber was on the cards?
Ryan Dalziel (RD): “In Grand-Am you can never rule out what can happen. We had a really strong race at Barber in 2010 and it was the first podium for Starworks and really kicked off our season. We knew that if we stayed smart and kept the tires and car in good condition we would be there at the end.”
Q: Given you have a reputation as a real racer, do you enjoy the challenge of fighting through the field?
RD: “I did, but it was really hard. We normally have one of the fastest cars on track so overtaking when your car is running really well is a little easier. For some reason at Barber we struggled with our racecar and so I had to be really aggressive and make my passes through GT traffic. I probably made some enemies in the Daytona Prototype field but I went and said sorry after the race to a couple guys.”
Q: Is the Barber result a catalyst looking ahead after two opening races that ultimately ended in disappointment?
RD: “I hope so. 2010 was a similar fate for Starworks in the first two events as this year. Homestead was and still is a hard pill to swallow with our car being so fast and the bad luck we faced with debris puncturing the radiator when we were the dominant car. I have confidence in the whole Starworks No.8 crew that we can turn our season around and challenge week in and week out for podiums.”
Q: As a relatively small independent outfit, how do you take the fight to a behemoth, all-conquering team such as the Ganassi Racing squad - winner's of all three races this season?
RD: “We have said it many times that we know what their secret is and we try every day to make our time just a little better. The job done by Peter Baron and his small crew in Fort Lauderdale is outstanding and every time I get in the car I try to repay their dedication and hard work. Without my crew we wouldn’t be the team we are.”
Q: Was it easy for the Starworks team to bounce back after the heartbreak of Miami last month where a win was denied by a freak damage-related incident?
RD: “We were still discussing it at Barber but thankfully now we can laugh instead of cry. It happens in racing and it’s unlikely to be the last time we face heartbreak. It made the podium that little sweeter.”
Q: How's your driving partnership with Mike Forest developing? What similarities do you share and where's the trade off in terms of experience?
RD: “It’s amazing how well we get along as team mates and I see a long future together. I think he really has pushed his skills up to the next level this year and opened people’s eyes.”
Q: Is it frustrating to have started the year with a race a month? Does momentum get affected with the stop-start nature of the season to-date?
RD: “It’s actually been good for us. Having time in the shop is important for us to continue to build a strong racecar. Sometimes you can develop the car more in the shop than at the race track. I like to race though and I’m looking forward to the season kicking up a notch.”
Q: The up-coming summer schedule takes in some fantastic classic American race tracks. Can you pick a personal favorite and one that, on paper at least, should be a stand-out for the strengths Starworks Motorsport.
RD: “I can’t wait for Road America. I’ve had lots of success there in different series so I’m happy Grand-Am are taking us there. I always love Montreal though and love going to Canada. I think as a team we should be strong at most places so I’m looking forward to getting to Round 4 and beyond.”
The Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia hosts Round 4 of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Friday 13th – Saturday 14th May – www.grand-am.com