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Sunday, June 7, 1998 Published at 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK


Porsche wins Le Mans

McNish, Ortelli and Aiello celebrate their win

Porsche has won its third successive Le Mans 24 hour race in dramatic fashion after the leading Toyota GT1 withdrew with gearbox problems less than 90 minutes before the end of the contest.

A Porsche GT1 driven by Alan McNish of Britain and France's Laurent Aiello and Stephane Ortelli won the 66th Le Mans race, at an average speed of 124 mph (199 kph).

They were followed in second place by another Porsche driven by two Germans, Jorg Muller and Uwe Alzen, and Frenchman Bob Wollek.

[ image: Endurance race tested cars and drivers]
Endurance race tested cars and drivers
In third place was the Nissan R390 driven by Japan's Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Aguri Suzuki and Masahiko Kageyama.

It is the 16th time that Porsche have won the prestigious race, overshadowing Ferrari's haul of nine and Jaguar's seven wins.

The Porsches dominated the race until around the 17th hour when they were forced to stop for repairs, allowing Belgian Thierry Boutsen, German Ralf Kelleners and Briton Geoffrey Lees in a Toyota to take over.

But the Toyota was sidetracked just over an hour before the end of the race with gear-box failure.

The fastest lap of the race, 3:41.809 was recorded by early in the race by Martin Brundle in another Toyota GT1.

Brundle's car fell out of the race after 14 hours with engine failure.

The best placed prototype was the Ferrari 333 driven by Wayne Taylor, Eric van de Poele and Fermin Velez, which came eighth.

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