Thursday
Apr262007

TEAM NEWS: DRIVER LINE-UP CHANGE FOR SAMAX AT VIRGINIA INT'L RACEWAY

Photo by John Thawley Thursday, April 26, 2007 - SAMAX Motorsport will have two new drivers for this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race Sunday at Virginia International Speedway (VIR). Following Milka Duno's departure from Grand-Am to compete in the Indy Racing League with SAMAX Motorsport, team owner Peter Baron was to announce her replacement this week. Early on Wednesday, he got news from driver Patrick Carpentier that the Canadian driver, who lives in Las Vegas, could not participate in Sunday's 400-kilometer race due to a family medical emergency.

Filling in for Round 4, on the 3.27-mile (5,263-kilometer) 17-turn VIR road circuit, will be Ryan Dalziel from Scotland and Jean-Francois Dumoulin of Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Dalziel is no stranger to Daytona Prototype (DP), having spent the 2006 season with Pacific Coast Motorsports where he collected his best finish in DP with a second place at Phoenix. The Orlando, Florida resident competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with SAMAX Motorsport, finishing second overall with teammates Carpentier, Duno and British driver Darren Manning, tying his best result in the series. With a weekend off from a busy early season Champ Car schedule, where the 25-year old is competing full time as a rookie, Dalziel accepted the offer from Peter Baron to fill in for this race. He spent the previous three weekends in Las Vegas, where he finished 11th in his Champ Car debut, then improved to ninth at Long Beach and went on to Houston last weekend for an eighth place finish. This will be Dalziel's 17th start in a Daytona Prototype.

"This is a last minute thing, but I could not refuse the offer from Peter (Baron)," said Dalziel, who was the 2003 and 2004 runner-up in the Toyota Atlantic Series. "I had a great time at this year's season opener where we finished second, so it would have been hard to say no. I have enjoyed my time driving these cars and a lot good things have happened to me. Even though I do not personally know my new teammate (Jean-Francois Dumoulin), I have heard positive things about him and I am sure that we will be very, very competitive. I am excited to run at VIR and happy to race again with SAMAX."

Even though this will be Dumoulin's first start in a Daytona Prototype, he has been running in Grand-Am for the past eight years. He has made 50 starts in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge (nee Grand-Am Cup) since 2000 and is a proven winner. He twice won the GS1 Class title (2002 and 2003) and claimed seven class wins. The French Canadian driver has also been busy and successful in the Rolex Series GT, SGS and SRPII classes winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the SGS class in 2004 and the GT class in 2007. He also won his home Grand Prix at Trois-Rivières in 2001 in the SRPII class. He has raced five times at VIR in both the Koni Challenge and the Rolex Series.

Dumoulin will be a busy driver this weekend pulling double duty with the SAMAX Motorsport Daytona Prototype race on Sunday and with Alegra Motorsports in the separate GT class 400K-race on Saturday. "Years ago, I raced the Sports Racer Prototype II twice and found it to be easy to handle," said Dumoulin. "I know the SRPII only produced 400 horsepower compared to today's DPs that generates around 500 hp, but I'm familiar with the track. This will be a challenging weekend, but it will be a fun weekend. I know we can win on this track, and I am eager to run with the Daytona Prototype drivers, this time in similar cars."

SAMAX Motorsport is still in third place in the Team Standings with 80 points, 13 away from first place. The team finished second in the season opener at Daytona in late January and missed a Top-10 finish in the caution-free Mexico City race in early March. It rebounded with fourth place at Homestead-Miami a month ago.

Daytona Prototypes will qualify on Friday at 2:40 p.m. The VIR 400, a 77-lap race, will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday with live television coverage airing on SPEED.

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