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Fernando Alonso © Gallo Images

Alonso starts gruelling 24 Hours of Daytona

Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso began his quest to add an epic endurance title to his accomplishments as the 57th 24 Hours of Daytona began on Saturday afternoon.

The Spanish star made his endurance racing debut last year at the famed Florida speedway, but struggled with mechanical issues and finished 13th in the Prototype class, 38th overall.

But after a win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima and former F1 driver Sebastien Buemi and another last year at Spa-Francorchamps, Alonso shares the lead in the 2018-19 World Endurance Championship standings.

Alonso's No 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R. started in sixth with American Jordan Taylor behind the wheel and Alonso due to take over next in the grinding test over a 2.5-mile (4km), 12-turn road course that incorporates portions of Daytona's famed oval circuit.

Taylor and Dutch teammate Renger van der Zande are regulars in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the fourth driver, Japanese F1 alum Kamui Kobayashi, won an endurance event at Fuji in October.

Britain's Olivier Jarvis led from the start for the Mazda pole team that included American Tristan Nunez and Germans Timo Bernhard and Rene Rast.

Former F1 racer and IndyCar champion Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia jumped into second at the start, moving his Penske Acura ahead of another Penske Acura car driven by the other Taylor brother, Ricky.

Montoya's teammates are Frenchman Simon Pagenaud and American Dane Cameron.

Ricky Taylor's teammates are Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves of Brazil and Alexander Rossi of the United States.


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