Ryan Dalziel may have been racing in the American Le Mans series in 2005 for the Pacific Coast Motorsports team, but last weekend he finally got the chance to make his Champ Car World Series debut when he was drafted in to the Dale Coyne line-up for the Molson Indy Toronto.

Crash.net took the chance to chat to the Scottish driver about his debut, his time in the ALMS so far, and his possible future back in open wheel racing...

Crash.net:
Ryan, you qualified 16th and then finished inside the top ten. Were you pleased with how your Champ Car debut went?

Ryan Dalziel:
I was disappointed with where we qualified, but looking at the weekend as a whole we didn't get any seat time in the car and I've been out of single-seaters for so long. I was jumping back in at the deep end on one of my least favourite circuits so the end result was what we aimed for. Obviously it was a little bit by default, but Toronto is all about staying out of trouble and I think we did that and came away with what we deserved.

Crash.net:
You had contact early on with Marcus Marshall which put you in trouble early on, but just talk us through your race.

Ryan Dalziel:
Race day in general was pretty disappointing for us. We missed all of the warm-up because a driveshaft broke and we'd concentrated a lot on race set-up so I never go the chance to drive the car on full tanks meaning the race was a bit of an unknown for me.

Going a lap down in the opening three laps really killed my race but it's interesting that in my first two stints I was quicker than the likes of [Andrew] Ranger, [Nelson] Philippe and [Bjorn] Wirdheim - all guys who finished ahead of me at the end. It's disappointing that I went a lap down so early and then knew that for the next hour and 45 minutes I was going to have to wait for the misfortune of others. I stayed out of trouble and managed to stay on the same lap as a bunch of guys but I was running as quick as Hunter-Reay and he finished sixth - I think we could have been around there without the problems.

Crash.net:
How did the deal come about with Dale Coyne?

Ryan Dalziel:
Obviously [Oriol] Servia going over to Newman Haas following the Junqueira incident opened up one of the few funded doors left in Champ Car. I've been involved in Champ Cars for the past years and I think a number of people pushed my name towards it. I know Dale fairly well from trying to put various things together at different times and I think it was just the natural choice as to who to put in the car next and a lot of people were pressuring him to give me a shot.

It all came about the Saturday before the race. I was racing at Lime Rock in the Corvette and I got the call to go test on the Tuesday and that's very much it. I was under the impression it was going to be for the whole season otherwise I probably wouldn't have done a one-off outing - it's not something that I think has helped me too much as far as my career goes. I'm disappointed that I won't be finishing the season but it's a bonus that I got one start.

Crash.net:
You've got your deal with the PKV team. What was their view on you getting the drive - they were obviously happy for you to take it...

Ryan Dalziel:
I think PKV were one of those who were pushing for it. I have a very good relationship with the manager Jim McGee and I spoke with him the whole time once Dale approached me. Between Jim, Jimmy Vasser and myself, we decided that it was something I couldn't say no to, and that any experience is good experience. As far as expectations and goals are concerned, we think a top 14 would have been what we set out to achieve so to get a top ten was above expectations.

Crash.net:
The last two seasons, 2003 and 2004, you were runner-up in the Toyota Atlantics but then at the start of this season there wasn't a place for you in Champ Cars - as was the case for the champion Jon Fogarty. How disappointed are you that that was the case?

Ryan Dalziel:
From my point of view, I give credit where credit is due - and Jon Fogarty is a guy who should have been in Champ Car years ago when he first won the title. Jon is a good friend of mine so it was kind of hard to speak to him at the last race and tell him that I was going to be doing this as I think he deserves a shot ahead of me.

I think it's disappointing to look at the guys who have moved up in comparison to the guys who should have moved up and see people like Bremer and Ranger move up when they were beaten by myself and Jon for the last few seasons. Then again we are racing sportscars at a high level and, unlike most of the guys in Champ Cars, we are earning good money.

Crash.net:
Probably the most high profile Atlantic graduate from last season is Danica Patrick who has been making the headlines over in the IRL. Is that a route you would have looked at or was your aim always to go to Champ Cars?

Ryan Dalziel:
I'd consider anything as far as open wheel racing goes. The only thing that has ever ruled me out of IRL has been my loyalty to Champ Car. I've always had Champ Car as my foremost goal and still intend to race in it but if IRL approached with something then I'd consider it in the same way that sportscars aren't my ultimate goal but you have to go where you are wanted.

My main goal is still to get the PKV drive for next season when Jimmy retires but I wouldn't rule anything out and if IRL offered me something before Champ Car then I'd have to consider it.

Crash.net:
Pacific Coast obviously showed they wanted you to give you the drive in the Corvette but how difficult was it to make the transition from the Atlantic car to the C5-R?

Ryan Dalziel:
It wasn't too difficult. I think it is always easier to move from a fast car to a slower one. I think the problems come when I move back to the Champ Car. I learned a lot from the Atlantic car and from the past few seasons and I think the level of competition made the transition easy. I've known the team for years so that transition was easy, but the driving for Alex Figge and myself is a bit different to what we are used to with carbon brakes, a heavy car and the longer stints. But I think we have done a good job, we've impressed a few teams and if Pacific Coast stay in GT1 next season they will be a contender against the works teams.

Crash.net:
The GT1 category is very hard fought with the factory Corvettes, the ACEMCO Saleen and the Maserati, but the team has been up near the front on a few occasions. How close do you think that podium finish is?

Ryan Dalziel:
I think you've got to be realistic because no-one is going to beat the works cars and battling $15 million budgets is impossible. We are using older equipment and I think we are getting the most of it but the last race is the closest we have been to the Maserati and the Saleen in race spec. There have been times in qualifying when we have mixed it with them but in race spec we haven't had the pace but Yokohama came out with some new tyres and in the race we always within a tenth or two of them and we just got screwed with some yellows which stopped us fighting for the podium. We are knocking on the door and we've tested at Sears Point where we are this weekend so hopefully it can be a turning point.

Crash.net:
So you're hopeful of a good result this weekend then?

Ryan Dalziel:
I think every weekend has been a good result for us. We've been realistic in our targets and we've achieved everything that we set out to do. This year was mainly a learning year for Pacific Coast and I think we are learning with each race and the podium isn't too far away.

Crash.net:
You're obviously disappointed that it isn't Champ Cars this weekend but might we see you in a Champ Car again before the end of the season?

Ryan Dalziel:
I'm pretty gutted to be honest as I don't feel I could have done anymore and I don't think I could have been expected to do anymore so to be pushed to one side for someone else is hard to take. But I have to thank Pacific Coast for standing by me with everything. They knew what my goals were and where my future will hopefully go.

As for the rest of the season, if [Ronnie] Bremer stays with Dale Coyne then there isn't really anything there but my goal has always been to secure a drive with PKV for 2006 and this is looked upon as a bonus for me. It's something that I didn't expect to happen but I have no regrets about doing it and I'm glad that I did.