They have led every session this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and now Mazda Racing has taken its first pole and actually scored a 1-2 qualifying result in Monterey today.
Young stars Tristan Nunez and Tom Long traded times throughout qualifying to be nearly a second clear of the fastest Daytona Prototype of Dane Cameron.
While their horsepower per cubic inch numbers from their diesel engine of recent seasons was impressive, the switch this year to the petrol engine has now propelled Mazda to the top of the pack.
The fast flowing sweeping turns of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca make the Le Mans LM P2-style prototypes and even more rapid weapon.
Nunez stopped the clocks at 1:18.143 – finishing .236 of a second ahead of Long.
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Nunez said.
“We knew what we had coming in here, the car loves this track. We pushed our hearts out in these cars. Starting 1-2, no better place than Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for our first pole.
“I’m extremely honored to be able to do that. It feels great. We have a pretty competitive package now, that’s the main thing that has put us up here. Even last year, everything we’ve done, to the little things like pit stop practice at the shop, spending hours and hours a day.
“All that hard work is finally paying off. It’s going to show now and for the rest of the season. There is absolutely more pressure being at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but I think everyone on the team works well under pressure. and it shows how much passion they have in times like these.”
Corvette Daytona Prototypes were third through fifth with Cameron leading Ricky Taylor and Christian Fittipaldi.
In the PC class Robert Alon took pole for the championship-leading No.52 over James French and Alex Popow.
The Prototype class will race with the GTLM division tomorrow for two hours from 11:15am. The PC and GTD entries will have a separate two-hour battle at 3:45pm.
— Michelin Alley (@MichelinAlley) May 1, 2016
Mazda Prototypes qualify 1-2. Sweep the front row with track record pace. pic.twitter.com/iR5WidFpt5
— Mazda Racing (@MazdaRacing) May 1, 2016
P3 in qualifying today! A quick clip of our #31 Whelen/Team Fox Corvette from turn 5 in qualifying. I gave it… https://t.co/d7jZwIaaPB
— Dane Cameron (@danecameron19) May 1, 2016