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VP Racing SportsCar Challenge

Jones, Lazare Score St. Pete Poles

Jagger Jones scores pole for Saturday’s IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge doubleheader on streets of St. Pete…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

If Friday’s qualifying session for the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge is any indication, Saturday’s doubleheader at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – the first street course race for the series that’s entering its sophomore season – is going to be competitive.

While a rotation of drivers spent time atop the speed charts in both classes, Jagger Jones in the No. 87 FastMD Racing with Remstar Duqueine D08 Nissan will lead the field to the green flag after posting the fastest overall qualifying lap in the LMP3 class as he took the checkered flag with a time of 1:09.917.

Fast qualifier for the GSX class was Jesse Lazare in the No. 21 Motorsports In Action McLaren Artura GT4 at 1:17.051.

The driver who had the pole prior to the final lap of the session was Steven Aghakhani, who swept both races at the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in the No. 6 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

Aghakhani’s lap of 1:10.499 looked like it would be enough to start from the pole until he was relegated to third on the final lap, bested also by Jonathan Woolridge in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier.

Lazare also brings street course experience to the series, podiuming in his first start which came in St. Petersburg 11 years ago.

Two of the drivers looking to keep it close are second-fastest qualifier Jackson Lee in the No. 82 van der Steur Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 (1:17.136) who was the fastest GSX in the second practice session and Luca Mars who qualified third on the day (1:18.098) and swept the GSX class races at Daytona in the No. 59 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4.

The first 45-minute race for the VP Racing Challenge starts at 10:55 a.m. ET Saturday with the second race at 3:45 p.m. that afternoon. Both races stream live on Peacock.

RESULTS: Qualifying

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