Timing starts when the screen turns white in Garden Grip (first level) right before the race countdown is about to begin.
Starting from a save file that has already played the pod cutscene is allowed.
With these changes the pod cutscene + loads that take a bit under 2 min of time can be skipped when resetting, by importing a save file that has already played it. This means you no longer have to wait for 2 minutes to start your run. Additionally, with these changes, you no longer have to worry about deleting other LBP games from your system to save time in the pod cutscene.