Dalziel on top step at Le Mansposted in LMANS17 | 06 | 2012
AIRDRIE'S RYAN DALZIEL may have a strange, mid-Atlantic twang following is years living in Orlando, but he proudly flew the flag for Scotland on the top step of the podium at Le Mans.
With sportscar wins in America's two Blue Riband endurance races, at Daytona and Sebring, Dalziel powered his Starworks Honda to victory in the ultra-competitive LMP2 class.
"It's absolutely mega," the 30-year-old (pictured, centre, raising trophy high in his right hand), stinking of Champagne having come straight from the podium ceremony, beamed.
"And it definitely makes up for coming here two years ago and not getting to turn a lap in the race because of the problems we had then."
And Dalziel admitted that while it would take time for his achievement to sink in, his emotions were running high.
"There's huge amounts of emotion going through me at the moment," he continued. "To do it with this team is a dream.
"When I joined them three years ago we had one car and one employee; now we've turned it into this, and won Le Mans and Sebring in the same year.
"I'm hugely appreciative of the faith they have in me."
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And Dalziel, partnered by Venezuelan Enzo Potolicchio, and England's Tom Kimber-Smith — who has now won LMP2 three times in four years — admitted he wasn't sure the race had actually finished.
"To be honest, the finish scared the crap out of me," he laughed. "I've always thought it was after the chequered flag that everybody ran on to the track, but on the final lap there was an unbelievable amount of people on the track.
"I was having to lift off, and I was asking the team on the radio, 'Have I passed the chequered flag?", and they were telling me "No, no, keep going.'"
But the proud Scot, who drove the car for 12 of the 24 hours, also explained he had not plans to over-celebrate the victory.
"No way," he said. "But I'm knackered. Plus I'm on plane back to the States tomorrow. I'm hoping my muscles relax on the nice nine-hour flight.
"I've a day at home, then I've a race at Wisconsin this weekend. But before then I'll find the time to reflect on what we've achieved this weekend.
"I've now won Daytona, Sebring and now Le Mans — the three endurance classics — so as a sportscar driver, it doesn't get any better."
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