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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 14, 2009

Auto racing: Spain's Gene, Peugeot win 24 Hours of Le Mans


Associated Press

LE MANS, France Marc Gene of Spain and Peugeot won the 24 Hours of Le Mans today, ending Audi's five-year domination.

The diesel-powered Peugeot No. 9 was one of the few cars to have a trouble-free run in the world's most famous endurance race.

Gene, David Brabham of Britain and Alexander Wurz of Austria completed 382 laps in 24 hours, one lap more than the Peugeot No. 8 driven by French trio Sebastien Bourdais, Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin.

It was the second victory at Le Mans for Wurz, who won in a Porsche in 1996.

The two Peugeots were challenged by Audi's No. 1 car until the 21st hour. The Audi car had to pit twice within the space of a few minutes, first by Allan McNish of Britain to change a steering wheel and then by driver Rinaldo Capello to fix an engine problem.

Defending champions McNish, Capello and Tom Kristensen of Denmark finished third, six laps behind Peugeot No. 9.

The Corvette No. 63, driven by Jan Magnussen of Denmark, Antonio Garcia of Spain and Johnny O'Connell of the United States, completed 342 laps to finish 15th overall but first in the GT1 class.

A total of 55 cars started the 77th edition of the French endurance race, but 21 failed to finish.