WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Oliver Jarvis has a knack for wringing every last bit of speed out of the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi, especially when there’s a Motul Pole Award on the line.
Jarvis broke a 26-year-old track record to take the pole position in qualifying for January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. In qualifying for last month’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, he broke the previous year’s track record by more than a second.
On Saturday at Watkins Glen Int’l, Jarvis clocked a best lap of 1 minute, 29.639 seconds (136.547 mph) around the 3.4-mile circuit, breaking Pipo Derani’s previous track record of 1:34.405 set in 2017 by almost five seconds.
That was more than enough to take the pole for Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
It was Jarvis’ third Motul Pole Award of the season.
“The car was just fantastic in qualifying when it mattered,” Jarvis said. “I just had so much confidence, I think the lower temperatures helped, but I just had so much confidence to push and attack. It was a real pleasure to drive.
“From this year to last year, it was a huge step in the tires. I’m not sure how much quicker, but that just adds to the enjoyment of the driver. And I think I did my fastest lap on the last lap which shows just how durable they are. It was an amazing qualifying session for us. We have another six hours ahead of us.
“It’s a pole position, but we’re ready for the fight.”
Jarvis and co-drivers Tristan Nunez and Timo Bernhard will be fighting for Mazda’s first WeatherTech Championship DPi victory. That elusive first win for Mazda has been an ongoing storyline, one that Jarvis hopes to finally put to rest on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m looking forward to the day where we don’t have to discuss it,” Jarvis said. “We’re getting there. We’re going to win a race. It’s coming. I hope we can do it tomorrow. We have two very strong race cars. Qualifying is one thing, but we’ve also got a really strong race car. I’d like to say after this weekend, we don’t have to talk about it.”
Dane Cameron will start alongside Jarvis on the front row after posting a best lap of 1:29.862 (136.208 mph) in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi. Cameron also started alongside Jarvis last month at Mid-Ohio, where he and co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya started what now is a two-race win streak.
They’ll go for three in a row Sunday.
Ricky Taylor qualified third in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi at 1:29.928 (136.108 mph) that he shares with Helio Castroneves.
Harry Tincknell put the No. 55 Mazda DPi that he will co-drive with Jonathan Bomarito and Oliver Jarvis fourth on the grid at 1:29.983 (136.025 mph).
Renger van der Zande completed the top five on the grid with a lap of 1:30.758 (134.864 mph) in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Van der Zande’s co-driver is Jordan Taylor.
In the LMP2 class, French driver Gabriel Aubry won his first Motul Pole Award in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 with a lap of 1:31.735.
Aubry’s co-drivers are Matt McMurry and Eric Lux.
“It’s my first pole, indeed,” Aubry said. “It’s the only time I could come back since the pre-test (the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January) so I’m really happy. The lap wasn’t perfect but just the track is so amazing. It’s a great feeling. It’s my first time at Watkins Glen. It feels like you’re almost back in go-karts.
“It’s just a lot of fun to drive. The track has a lot of grip and the tires work so well.”