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Pole-Sitter Jarvis Leads Opening Hour of Rolex 24

Jarvis leads Nasr in the overall stakes as Porsche waves off early Corvette GTLM challenge…

Photo: Mike Meadows/DIS

Oliver Jarvis consolidated his Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position by leading the opening hour of the race for Mazda Team Joest.

Jarvis controlled the start of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener by planting his No. 77 Mazda RT24-P ahead of the No. 6 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 of Juan Pablo Montoya on lap one.

While Jarvis opened up a lead of around three seconds, Montoya was overtaken for second by Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr just under half an hour in.

Nasr, who overtook Mazda’s Jonathan Bomarito on the first lap, got his No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi alongside Montoya’s Acura on the Daytona banking before out-braking his rival into the chicane.

The order of Jarvis, Nasr, Montoya and Bomarito stood through the set of DPi stops, while Acura’s Ricky Taylor made up two positions on pit road.

Taylor was forced to start from the back of the grid after his heavy accident at the end of qualifying on Thursday, but the 2017 IMSA series champion entered the second stint ahead of the two JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillacs.

Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia managed to sandwich the two Porsche 911 RSR-19s at the front of the GT Le Mans class in the opening stint.

However, the Spaniard lost time with a gear shift issue to drop behind the No. 912 Porsche, the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE and the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo which pitted early and is now off-sequence.

This left the two Porsches, driven by Nick Tandy and Laurens Vanthoor, to reclaim the 1-2 order in which they started the race.

In GT Daytona, Zacharie Robichon led through the entire opening hour in the pole-sitting Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R but came under pressure as the field emerged from the first pit window.

At the close of the first hour, Robichon was marginally ahead of Trent Hindman, who gained two places in the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo, and Cooper MacNeil who took over the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo from Jeff Westphal.

Ben Keating stormed ahead in the first hour of the LMP2 class, turning PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ pole position into a 40-second lead.

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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