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Marc Gene drives Peugeot to 24 hour Le Mans win

LE MANS, France (AP) — Peugeot driver Marc Gene of Spain won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday, 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.

"To win such a race is the nicest thing I’ve enjoyed in my life," Gene said. "I was really emotional on the last lap. I’ve never had such a feeling in a race. Tears were coming to my eyes on the last lap."

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.

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