Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell led Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez across the line in a Mazda 1-2 finish at the IMSA WeatherTech 240 race at Daytona.
Bomarito's lap 53 pitstop, which succeeded a particularly fruitful stint in which the American driver overtook the Acuras and Cadillac cars after a wet-dry opener, left second driver Tincknell with a heavy advantage to stable-mate Jarvis in the second half of the race.
Polesitter Helio Castroneves' Penske Acura had no issues holding off Jarvis at the start, with Juan Pablo Montoya driving the second Acura around the outside of Bomarito at the horseshoe corner to grab third.
However, Bomarito took just two laps to return the favour.
Montoya and Castroneves stopped on laps 5 and 7 respectively to change from wet tires to slicks, leaving Bomarito up front, just ahead of teammate Jarvis.
The two Mazdas then switched to slicks, but the four turbocharged cars were now behind the two Cadillacs of Gabby Chaves (AXR) - subbing for Felipe Nasr after the 2018 champion tested positive for coronavirus - and Daytona 24 Hour winner Ryan Briscoe (Wayne Taylor Racing) who had been brave enough to start on slicks.
Bomarito and Jarvis passed Castroneves as the Brazilian was struggling and losing time to the charging Montoya, who was now 11s behind Briscoe.
When those Cadillacs pitted just before the 40min mark - Briscoe stayed on board for WTR, but Pipo Derani took over from Chaves - Montoya's Acura took the lead, but Bomarito leapfrogged the defending series champion in the next round of stops.
Bomarito and Montoya soon caught up with Briscoe, and the WTR driver ceded second to Bomarito on lap 33 as the Mazda then set about trying to close down the gap to leader Derani.
At exactly half distance Derani pitted from the lead, which handed first place to Bomarito, who had been tailing him by less than one second.
The #55 Mazda at this point was 10sec ahead of Montoya, whose mirrors were now full of the other Mazda piloted by Jarvis' team-mate Nunez.
Nunez handed the #77 back to Jarvis on the next round of stops and, a lap later, Bomarito stopped to give the leading Mazda to Tincknell, the #55's advantage such that it was able to retain the lead.
Jarvis, meanwhile, emerged from the pits behind Montoya's co-driver Dane Cameron but took barely more than a lap to dispose of the Acura and home in on second-placed Derani.
The final scheduled stops, with around half an hour to go, left Tincknell 13s ahead of Jarvis, who was unable to prevent the #55 car from claiming victory.
However, second was still enough for Jarvis and Nunez to take the series lead after their second-place finish with Olivier Pla in the 24 Hours.
Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais repeated their result in the 24 Hours in third, Bourdais having jumped both Cameron and Derani in the JDC Cadillac in the closing stages, and finished only 5.2s behind the second Mazda.
Cameron staved off Derani for fourth.
In the GTLM class, the new #3 Corvette C8.R piloted by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor scored its first victory in only its third competition start, beating the Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber by just two seconds at the line.
Although the other Porsche - the #911 of Nick Tandy - was the only GTLM car to start the race on wet tires and pulled a 17sec lead in just three laps, Vanthoor took over the class lead in the early stages, before custody was taken over by the #25 RLL BMW of Bruno Spengler.
Taylor held the Corvette among the leading runners before handing over to Garcia, who took over the lead later on the race after Spengler stopped, but came under heavy pressure from Bamber in the late stages.
However, Garcia showed he was in control by slamming in the fastest GTLM lap of the race in the final five minutes, eventually passing the checkered flag 2s ahead of the Porsche to score the 100th win for Corvette Racing on US soil.
The #14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus of Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz secured the GTD class victory from pole, beating Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo for an all-Lexus class 1-2.
The Lexuses spent the majority of the race in first and second, beating the Meyer-Shank Acuras of Mario Farnbacher/Matt McMurry and Alvaro Parente/Misha Goikhberg by a considerable margin.
|6||DPi||R.van der Zande, R.Briscoe||Cadillac||95||1m06.779s|
|8||GTLM||A.Garcia, J.Taylor||Chevrolet||90||5 Laps|
|9||GTLM||E.Bamber, L.Vanthoor||Porsche||90||5 Laps|
|10||GTLM||N.Tandy, F.Makowiecki||Porsche||90||5 Laps|
|11||GTLM||B.Spengler, C.De Phillippi||BMW||90||5 Laps|
|12||GTLM||O.Gavin, T.Milner||Chevrolet||89||6 Laps|
|13||GTLM||J.Krohn, J.M.Edwards||BMW||89||6 Laps|
|14||GTD||J.Hawksworth, A.Telitz||Lexus||87||8 Laps|
|15||GTD||F.Montecalvo, T.Bell||Lexus||86||9 Laps|
|16||GTD||M.Farnbacher, M.McMurry||Acura||86||9 Laps|
|17||GTD||A.Parente, M.Goikhberg||Acura||86||9 Laps|
|18||GTD||C.MacNeil, T.Vilander||Ferrari||86||9 Laps|
|19||GTD||G.Robinson, L.Aschenbach||Mercedes||85||10 Laps|
|20||GTD||R.Hardwick, P.Long||Porsche||85||10 Laps|
|21||GTD||R.Foley, B.Auberlen||BMW||85||10 Laps|
|22||GTD||A.Lally, J.Potter||Lamborghini||85||10 Laps|
|23||GTD||T.Bechtolsheimer, M.Miller||Acura||85||10 Laps|
|24||GTD||C.Fergus, P.Holton||McLaren||85||10 Laps|
|25||GTD||R.Ferriol, S.Pumpelly||Audi||84||11 Laps|
|26||DPi||H.Castroneves, R.Taylor||Acura||43||Not running|
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