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JARVIS: Mexico Debrief

Oliver Jarvis files his latest Sportscar365 column after Mexico…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Mexico has not been kind to me the last two years.

After suffering a wheel bearing failure last year. we had a clutch issue this year. On both occasions the issues cost my teammates and me a chance to fight for victory.

The weekend started really positively with us topping FP1, and we continued to show great pace through FP2 and FP3.

We headed into qualifying quietly confident, and despite a great effort from my two teammates, we were slightly disappointed to end up P2 as we had firmly set our sights on pole, but car No. 36 was simply too fast.

On the grid before the race start, all the talk was about the Rebellion cars as they had extremely aggressive setups without the rear gurney (low downforce), so we knew they would be extremely fast in the straight.

I took the start of the race, and knew I would need a strong start to keep car No. 31 behind.

Initially it was all going to plan and I was able to pull alongside car No. 26 and edge in front as we entered the braking zone.

I braked late and tried to pass him round the outside, but unfortunately he was able to brake late enough and force me wide on the exit. This meant that Bruno was able to grab P2 and I later lost a position to car No. 26.

From there I tried to stay as close as possible to the lead three cars as I was struggling with the car balance, but knew that we were very kind to our tires so I would be able to close back up in the second stint.

We only took fuel and made a few adjustments to the car at the first pit stop to try and help the balance.

Immediately the car felt better, and despite some of our competitors taking tires at their stops, I was the fastest car on track over the next stint, and when we pitted the lead car was firmly within my sights.

I was confident that by stopping a few laps early we would be able to undercut with Ho-Pin on new tires.

Unfortunately, as Ho-Pin tried to restart the car, it was clear there was an issue with the clutch that meant we had to pull the car into the garage and lost eight laps repairing the issue.

Once back on track, we continued to show pace that I believe would have allowed us to challenge the No. 31 Rebellion car for the win.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and the result meant that our championship lead was slashed in half!

Congrats to the Rebellion team, and especially Bruno who drove a great first stint.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long to the next race in Austin and the aim will be to get back to winning ways and try to extend our lead again!

Oliver Jarvis (@OllyJarvis) is the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 winner, driving for Mazda Team Joest in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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