Despite early promise, Ryan Dalziel's Mexico City 250 ended in retirement as the #2 SAMAX Motorsport entry was forced out of the third round of the Grand-Am Rolex Series at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Sharing the BMW-Riley with Henri Zogaib, Dalziel had high hopes heading into Saturday's 250-mile endurance sprint and those hopes looked well founded as the 26-year-old Scot set the second fastest time in Thursday's official practice session around the 2.5-mile track.
His lap time of 1m20.880s was only bettered by reigning champion Alex Gurney, the American lapping in 1.20.536s in the #99 Bob Stallings / Riley-Matthews Pontiac Riley.
Friday's qualifying shootout would see Dalziel's team-mate Henri Zogaib take the wheel and he qualified 16th in the Daytona Prototype division from a field of 32 cars entered for the two-hour 45-minute event. Zogaib subsequently took the start of the race as the green flag dropped on Saturday afternoon and he quickly reveled in the power advantage enjoyed by the BMW engine on the long Mexican straights.
Breaking into the top-ten in the early stages, the American's progress in the #2 BMW-Riley was soon thwarted as he was spun out following contact with the GT-entered #21 Pontiac GTO.R – driven by Pepe Montano - on lap twelve. While the incident failed to trigger a full course caution, Zogaib rejoined the action before pitting three laps later with flat-spotted tyres, Dalziel taking over as the SAMAX Motorsport crew set to work refueling the car and slapping on a fresh set of rubber.
His challenge looked daunting with the car now down a lap after the previous incident but buoyed by its competitive lap times the Scottish racer set to work making up for lost time. As the race approached the half-way marker Dalziel's flat-out pace hauled the car back onto the lead lap, but his progress was ultimately hindered as an on-going battle for position with the #47 Doran Racing Ford Dallara saw some questionable driving from his on-track rival.
A broken rear drive-shaft on the Scotsman's car was the result of the final contact from the #47 entry in their heated exchange – Dalziel retiring the #2 Daytona Prototype on lap 58.
“It's disappointing to retire as we were super quick,” he said. “Everything was looking good before we had to call it a day. I'd managed to get back onto the lead lap and we were setting lap times that were at least the equal of the race leaders. The car was mega after our last stop but after I was hit repeatedly the resulting damage took its toll.
“All things considered it was a good weekend to that point. The team was flawless throughout and we ran competitively from start to finish. Unfortunately lady luck wasn't on our side but at least we get to do it all again this coming weekend in Virginia!”