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Motor racing-Ferrari win the centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans

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(Reuters) -Ferrari won the centenary edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans after a late pitstop drama on Sunday to take Maranello’s first overall victory in 58 years and deny Toyota a sixth successive triumph in the world’s oldest active endurance race.

The number 51 Ferrari AFCorse driven by Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi, a car shared with Antonio Giovinazzi and Britain’s James Calado, took the chequered flag ahead of the number eight Toyota.

It was Ferrari’s first overall success at the Sarthe circuit since 1965, when American Masten Gregory and Austrian Formula One driver Jochen Rindt won in a 250LM car.

But it was nail-biting to the end.

Guidi failed to get going from the final stop, the Ferrari remaining immobile as Toyota mechanics looked on in disbelief, wondering if a stunning victory might after all be snatched from impending defeat.

The Italian started after a reset but the Ferrari’s lead was slashed to 51 seconds before the number eight Toyota’s final pitstop.

Ferrari started with both the 50 and 51 cars on Saturday’s front row, a first in 50 years for the marque that waged epic battles with Ford in the 1960s before leaving in 1973 and then returning this year to the Hypercar category.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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