DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. –Oliver Jarvis put the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest on the pole position at Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona for the second consecutive year as Thursday’s qualifying session was cut short by a heavy crash in the top DPI division.
Ricky Taylor crashed Team Penske’s No. 7 Acura with 2 minutes remaining in the session, hitting the tire barrier after losing control in the Bus Stop. After a red flag, officials elected to end the session with 1:42 remaining. Taylor was able to walk away from the wreck. He was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
Jarvis turned a lap of 1 minute, 33.711 seconds on the 3.56-mile road course, nearly breaking the lap record he set in winning last year’s pole.
Juan Pablo Montoya qualified second (1:34.154) with the No. 6 Acura of Team Penske, followed by Jonathan Bomarito’s No. 55 Mazda in third (1:34.169).
The Cadillacs of Felipe Nasr (1:34.294) and Ryan Briscoe (1:34.442 in the No. 10 of defending overall winner Wayne Taylor Racing) rounded out the top five.
Last year, Mazda’s strong start went up in a ball of flames as both of its cars short-circuited from contention with mechanical problems just past the seven-hour mark.
Mazda worked on making its cars more durable throughout the offseason, and Jarvis believes “reliability is not such a concern” with the DPI class entering its fourth year.
“That allows drivers to push much harder right from the green flag,” Jarvis said. “I think we’ve got one of the most competitive fields I’ve ever been involved in motorsports with; some amazing driver lineups throughout the grid. So I think you’ll see some really entertaining racing from the moment the flag drops.”
In the LMP2 class, Ben Keating was fastest with a lap of 1:37.446 in the No. 52 ORECA.
In the GTLM division, Nick Tandy (who also happens to be a fan of the Daytona 500) set a track record of 1:42.207 (breaking his previous mark of 1:42.257) and also tied Scott Pruett’s record for most Rolex 24 Hour pole positions (four). Tandy also won the pole in 2013, ’16 and ’19.
Tandy edged his teammate Laurens Vanthoor. Antonio Garcia qualified third in the No. 3 Corvette.
In the GTD class, Zacharie Robichon put the No. 9 Porsche 911 of Pfaff Motorsports on the pole with a track-record lap of 1:45.237.
The No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 of AIM Vasser Sullivan will be starting from the rear of the field after the team wasn’t able to change an engine in time for qualifying.
Two-time defending NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch will be making his Rolex 24 debut in the No. 14, sharing the car with Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada.