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Ganassi lead into closing stages

Montoya/Pruett/Rojas Ganassi Riley-Lexus, Daytona 24 Hours 2009The No.01 Ganassi car of defending champions Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo Montoya and Memo Rojas leads the Daytona 24 Hours past the 18th hour after the Brumos and Penske Riley-Porsches hit trouble.

Only three cars remained on the lead going into the race's final quarter, with Brumos's No.58 car leading the Ganassi No.01 that Montoya had driven back into contention for victory before handing over to Rojas.

However Darren Law spun the Brumos car while on the banking just after he had taken over from David Donohue, who had placed the car at the front of the field once again. They later pitted under the 20th caution of the day for repairs, staying on the lead lap and dropping to second.

Most of the early hours of Sunday were dominated by the No.16 Penske car of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe, but they had to make a couple of unscheduled stops under the 18th yellow due to overheating.

They remained on the lead lap for a while until Dumas had to drive the car into the garage, where it stayed for some time as the team needed to replace the rear end of the Porsche-engined Riley. They lost 16 laps and their challenge for victory is now over.

The second Brumos Riley-Porsche had led the race again, but was passed by the SunTrust car during a restart early in the morning. Brake issues would later push former Grand Am champions SunTrust down a lap, however.

The No.02 Ganassi car dropped two laps down during the 17th hour when Dario Franchitti lost the brakes on his Lexus-powered Riley, being forced to skip the chicane. He pitted to change front brakes immediately and then served a penalty for missing the corner.

Just after the 18-hour mark they had to pit yet again after Scott Dixon broke the front splitter and lost the nose of his car. The front bodywork then caused yet another caution as officials needed to remove it from the track.

In the GT class the No.86 Farnbacher Loles Porsche has been able to hold on to the lead, but remains under pressure from two of the TRG Porsches.

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