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Van der Zande: Fluctuating Pace of Mazdas, Acuras “Worrying”

Renger Van der Zande hoping for a fair fight in Rolex 24 between DPi teams…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Renger van der Zande says the variable speeds between the rival DPi manufacturers is “worrying” in the lead up to today’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

All three DPi manufacturers have appeared at the top of the timing sheets at various points over the race weekend, however, questions have been raised of gamesmanship over genuine pace amongst the field.

Van der Zande said the Wayne Taylor Racing crew has been “working flat out” on the Cadillac DPi-V.R he shares with Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Kamui Kobayashi, but they are still keeping an eye on the speed of their neighbors.

“We have to see how the competition will be, how the Acuras and Mazdas are,” van der Zande told Sportscar365.

“It looks like Mazda is quite flat out. It looks like they are pushing for the maximum of what they can do.

“The Acuras, they’re a little bit off and on which is kind of worrying to me. I just don’t know how [if] at the end of the race they [will] start speeding up; I hope it’s going to be a fair fight and then we’ll do our best to win it.”

The pace of the Cadillac teams’ rivals is hard to ignore, according to the Dutchman, however, the team knows where they need to focus on.

“We think about it but it’s hard to judge,” van der Zande said. “I don’t know how much they have in the bag, how much they are trying to hide their performance in one way or the other.

“It could be aerodynamics or power from the engine; at the end it doesn’t really matter for us. We’re going to try our best and it’s up to IMSA to find the best solution for the BoP and if the BoP is off then they have some hard work to do.

“We don’t know too much about it for the long run but for now we’ve been very happy with the car; it’s drivable, there’s no big issues and we’re sort of fine-tuning more than anything.”

Both the No. 31 Action Express Racing and WTR Cadillacs have qualified one position higher than they did for last year’s Rolex 24 with the cars fourth and fifth, respectively, on the grid.

WTR went on to win last year’s rain-shortened race despite initial concerns over pace, with van der Zande not ruling out a ‘survival of the fittest’ style of race again.

“It’s always like that in a 24 hour, ” he said. “You think everything is settled and then something happens, it could even be 15 minutes before the end.

“It’s a survival and it’s always a time bomb of people falling off the track but it’s going to happen, sometimes you’re really surprised sometimes you’re not.

“Cadillac the last few years has been bulletproof, the car has been super reliable and it’s the reason why it’s been so successful.”

Slade Perrins is an Australian-based junior reporter for Sportscar365. Perrins won the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars 'Young Gun Award' for journalism for his work with speedcafe.com.

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