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Nasr Leads After Chaotic Opening Hour

Felipe Nasr holds lead after chaotic opening hour to Rolex 24 at Daytona…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Felipe Nasr leads a Cadillac 1-2-3 for Action Express Racing after a topsy turvy opening hour to the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Nasr’s No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R holds the top spot by 4.149 seconds over Loic Duval in the JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac, with the No. 01 Chip Ganassi entry of Renger van der Zande in third.

While the prototype start was relatively clean, the split GT start went awry even before the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona cars saw the green flag.

The trouble started when Bruno Spengler in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE hit and spun Kevin Estre’s No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Estre’s car sustained significant damage and eventually lost the rear bodywork, bringing out the race’s first full course caution just ten minutes in.

The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Alessandro Pier Guidi was hit in the door by the spinning Porsche and was the third car involved in the incident.

Spengler was assessed a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility, while Estre was forced to take his Porsche to the pit lane for repairs and lost 13 laps before resuming.

Once the race restarted, attrition hit the seven-car LMP3 field as well.

Forty7 Motorsports driver Ryan Norman and Moritz Kranz of Muehlner Motorsports appeared to make contact while battling for the lead in the International Horseshoe and both cars sustained damage.

Kranz had his car repaired on pit lane while Norman was forced to take his car to the garage for repairs.

Mazda suffered dramas even before the start when the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P struggled to leave the pit lane due to gear selection issues for the formation lap.

Oliver Jarvis eventually did join the field but was forced to start from the rear.

Ben Keating has built a lead of over 20 seconds in the LMP2 class for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports.

The other class leaders are Performance Tech in LMP3, the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in GTLM, and the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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