Mazda’s second place “like a victory” after previous troubles
Mazda ace Oliver Jarvis has described the marque’s second-place finish in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona "like a victory" as both RT24-Ps were classified in the top six.
Jarvis, who took pole at the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener for Mazda Team Joest, claimed that there was no reason to be disappointed after missing out on victory aboard the RT24-P he shared with Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla.
The #77 Mazda finished 65 seconds behind the winners, and suggested that there was nothing more the team could have done to beat the victorious Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R shared by Ryan Briscoe, Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi and Scott Dixon.
"We can't be disappointed that we didn't win because we did the maximum today," Jarvis told Motorsport.com. "We had a pretty much perfect race, apart from one penalty, but they were just better than us – they were in a different league."
Mazda's first race finishes at Daytona with the RT24-P represented "a major achievement" for the marque, Jarvis continued.
"The engine never missed a beat," he said of the AER four-cylinder turbo that had never previously made it through the race. "This is a huge step forward for us and a great way to start the season.
"When you consider how much progress we've made in two seasons, this feels like a victory."
The #55 Mazda driven by Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Hunter-Reay did suffer engine problems, progressively losing turbo boost through the race.
The team suspected the source of the problem was either an exhaust or a wastegate issue that led to the car finishing 10 laps down.
The second place for Jarvis, Nunez and Pla represents Mazda's top finish at the Daytona 24 Hours. It comfortably surpassed the previous best for the Japanese marque, a fifth place for a rotary-engined 767B shared by Elliot Forbes-Robinson, Takashi Yorino and Yoshimi Katayama.
Mazda wasn't the only team to believe that WTR was unbeatable last weekend. The Action Express Racing team, which won at Daytona with Cadillac in 2018, stated that its DPi-V.R didn't have the pace of the race winner.
Filipe Albuquerque, who finished a delayed seventh together with Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Mike Conway in the solo AXR entry after gearbox trouble, reckoned their Caddy was only "a second-place car" at the weekend.
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