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Donohue earns pole, breaks record

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- David Donohue edged Timo Bernhard by 0.001 seconds Thursday to take the pole position for the 47th Rolex 24 At Daytona, breaking the Daytona Prototype track record.

Donohue turned a lap in 1 minute, 40.540 seconds -- averaging 127.472 mph -- in the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley he will share with Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia in the race that will start at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and end at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

"Actually, winning the pole was a bit of a surprise," Donohue said. "We had a bit of a problem with traffic on what I thought was my fastest lap. We were having an electrical gremlin, so I didn't know how quick I was running. The team told me I was P-1, but I didn't know by how much and what to do with the tires. But I said it before, all that counts is where you are at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday."

Donohue joined his father, the late Mark Donohue, as a pole winner in the event. The elder Donohue won the pole for Penske Racing in 1971. They joined Dan and Alex Gurney as father-son pole winners.

Bernhard was at the wheel of Penske Racing's No. 16 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Porsche Riley, turning a lap of 1:50.541 (127.470 mph) in the Daytona Prototype he shares with Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe.

"I knew I put down a pretty good lap, and when they give me the time I thought it would be good enough for the pole," said Bernhard, overall winner of the 2003 Rolex 24. "Then they told me it was very close, but I was second, but by that time my tires were done. It was a great result for Penske Racing. It's a new series for us in Grand-Am, and we're already very competitive. Looking at it that way, P-2 is a very good result."

Starting from the second row will be Michael Valiante in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley, and Richard Zonta in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola.

Scott Pruett, seeking a third consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 and fourth in a row for Telmex/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will start sixth in the No. 01 Lexus Riley.

"That's about what we expected to run in qualifying," Pruett said. "For 24 hours, it's not going to make a difference. The Ganassi guys have done a great job, as always, and we've got a great car for the race."

Alex Gurney, the 2007 Rolex 24 pole winner, will start 11th in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley co-driven by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser.

The No. 2 Childress-Howard Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Danica Patrick, Casey Mears, Rob Finlay and three-time Rolex 24 winner Andy Wallace lost an engine during Friday's practice and failed to qualify. They will start the race 18th, at the back of the Daytona Prototype grid.

In GT, Sylvain Tremblay captured the Rolex 24 pole for the second consecutive year in dramatic fashion, waiting until near the end of the session to turn a track record lap of 1:49.455 (117.100 mph) in the No. 70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX.

Tremblay and Nick Ham will be seeking their second consecutive GT victory in the Rolex 24, and fourth consecutive triumph at Daytona -- all from the pole position. David Haskell and Jonathan Bomarito also will drive.