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Penske take early lead at Daytona

Timo Bernhard, Penske Riley-Porsche, Daytona 24 Hours 2009Penske have taken an early lead in the Daytona 24 Hours after Timo Bernhard passed pole-sitter David Donohue (Brumos Riley-Porsche) on the opening lap.

Bernhard, who shares his Riley-Porsche with Ryan Briscoe and Romain Dumas, was beaten to pole by just 0.001 seconds in Thursday afternoon's qualifying session, but wasted no time when the race got underway, quickly drafting past Donohue.

The German then held the lead through the opening stint, although Donohue did not allow Bernhard to make a break, remaining within three seconds of the Penske car.

The second Brumos car is currently third in the hands of Joao Barbosa, 14 seconds off the lead, and just ahead of Michael Shank Racing's Michael Valiante.

Ganassi - who are chasing their fourth consecutive Daytona victory - presently run fifth (Scott Dixon) and seventh (Scott Pruett), split by Max Angelelli's SunTrust entry.

The first hour passed without incident, and the race has yet to see its first full course yellow.

But there has already been an upset in the GT class, with pole-sitter and last year's SpeedSource Mazda having to pit for transmission repairs before the hour was completed. Farnbacher Loles' No.86 and 87 Porsches currently run first and second ahead of the No.67 TRG Porsche.

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