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Montoya Quickest for Acura in Damp First Session at Daytona

Juan Pablo Montoya on top in wet weather-affected opening practice run for the Rolex 24…

Photo: John Dagys

Juan Pablo Montoya set the pace for Acura Team Penske in a damp opening practice session for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Montoya set the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 on top of the leaderboard with a time of 1:49.917, which put the defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi champion just 0.039 seconds ahead of Oliver Pla in the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda RT24-P.

Pla shot to second in the order right at the end of the session, with the Frenchman benefiting from a dry line that had emerged in the latter stages.

Practice 1 started out in rainy conditions but the wet weather subsided over the course of the hour.

Pla slotted his Mazda behind Montoya and ahead of Tristan Vautier who posted a time of 1:50.316 behind the wheel of the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R.

In fourth was the JDC-prepared No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi in which Sebastien Bourdais registered a 1:51.054 effort, while Montoya’s teammate Ricky Taylor lapped fifth in the sister Acura.

Porsche Goes 1-2 in GTLM; WRT Quickest in GTD

The GT Le Mans category was led by Porsche, which ran first and second with its new 2019-spec Porsche 911 RSR.

Laurens Vanthoor set the pace with a time of 1:57.031 while Nick Tandy backed up his teammate with a 1:57.351.

Third in class was Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R which came through nine-tenths off the session best.

Nicolas Lapierre led the five-car LMP2 field for the Starworks-run Tower Motorsport team with a time of 1:52.193 in the No. 8 Oreca 07 Gibson.

The reigning FIA World Endurance LMP2 champion even led the way overall during the opening half-hour as the DPi teams hesitated to go out on the wet track.

GT Daytona was paced by newly-signed Audi factory driver Mirko Bortolotti, who posted a 1:58.763 aboard the WRT Speedstar Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

In second was former Porsche full-season GTLM driver Patrick Pilet for Pfaff Motorsports, while Albert Costa lapped third-fastest in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of defending winner Grasser Racing Team.

Two red flags took away 13 minutes of the hourlong session following issues for the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R and the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The Corvette caused the first brief red flag 15 minutes in, when Marcel Fassler brought the new car to a halt at the Bus Stop chicane with an apparent mechanical problem.

Black Swan’s Porsche then had an accident at Turn 1 which caused a slightly longer stoppage later in the session.

Second practice for the Rolex 24 takes place at 12:45 p.m. EST (5:45 p.m. GMT).

RESULTS: Practice 1

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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