Ryan Dalziel Aims To Turn Up The Heat After Pain In The Rain
Ryan, from Windermere in Florida, can’t wait to dry his gear out after getting soaked in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Series Grand Prix of Miami then again in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa in Belgium.
And he is aiming to turn up the heat after those two results failed to match the performance of the Starworks Motorsport cars.
A win for Ryan – originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland – and Venezuelan Enzo Potolicchio in the #8 Ford Riley will catapult the Fort Lauderdale-based team back to the top of the Daytona Prototype rankings and get their dream season back on track after a couple of hiccups.
At Spa, the team had already been hit by an engine problem in the Honda Performance Development LMP2 car that cost them 30 laps when Ryan climbed behind the wheel. He produced a series of blistering laps, despite having never raced on the legendary Ardennes circuit before and showed just why he has become one of the most highly-rated drivers around at the moment.
He equalled the times set by former Peugeot works driver Sarrazin as they pulled back an incredible two laps on the field in the closing stages and boosted their FIA World Endurance Championship chances by grabbing some vital title points. Ryan, 30, is now just two points behind the Oak team and seven points behind ADR.
Now he hopes to take that form into the New Jersey Motorsports Park…once his boots have dried.
THE QUOTES: Ryan looks ahead to New Jersey: “My boots are still wet from two weekends in the rain. New Jersey is notoriously hot so, hopefully, we will get the chance to go up there and dry out a little bit. It is a little bit easier for me to jump back into Grand-Am racing because I know the racing, the tracks and the cars. That is very natural whereas the WEC is still a bit alien. I am looking forward to getting back to my natural habitat. We have had a couple of disappointing weekends in both series, so now it is time to regroup and go after it.
“The unfortunate thing is that we have been stronger in the past two weekends than we were earlier in the season. In Sebring, we weren’t the best car but we did the best job. In Spa, I think we were the best car. It was the same at Homestead, we were dominant in the rain and had a bad result. We know we have the pace, we just have to get back to winning ways.”
Ryan looks back on Spa: “What an incredible place. It reminds me of why Europe has the best tracks in the world. A lot of people were shocked to hear that it was my first time there because I am from Europe, and it is so difficult. I struggled in the first few days because I wanted to maximize track time and not make any mistakes.
“Then I started pushing and that worked for me. My race pace was really good. It was the first time I have matched Stephane. At Sebring, I was a little bit behind him, but we left Spa with joint fastest lap.
“Enzo did his job and, with Stephane and I, we were definitely good. We still got eighth place points so there are positives. If we get the right result at Le Mans, we are right back up there.
“When we got back out after the engine trouble, we were 30 laps down and when we finished we were 28 laps down so, by far, we were the best car. We are still pretty confident. We were lucky that other cars also had issues.
“We are continuing to learn and we move on to the next one. The team has grown a massive amount.
“For Enzo and I, the challenge was to learn the track, but for the team, they had gone up a level from Sebring. It was an incredible job, seeing where we are now to where we were at Sebring. I know we are happy with the job we did as a team, but there are still things we can work on. We will get stronger at each event.”
THE FACTS: The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Global Barter 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park will be on May 13. It will be live on Speed TV at 1pm (ET).
The next race for Ryan and Starworks Motorsport in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign will be the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16-17. They started with an LMP2 class win and third place overall at Sebring in Florida.
He also grabbed an LMPC class win and third place overall in the CORE autosport car at Long Beach in California in the American Le Mans Series earlier last month.
Ryan had four Rolex Grand-Am podiums in 2011 – a win at mid-Ohio and third at Barber, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. He also had three fourth-place finishes.
Ryan also gave Starworks Motorsport its first DP victory, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in 2008.
Find out more at www.ryandalziel.com.