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Toyota notch up fifth successive Le Mans victory

Sebastien Buemi, Ryo Hirakawa and Brendon Hartley ensured Japanese manufacturer Toyota notched up a fifth successive victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Sunday.

The winning drivers completed 380 laps in the classic endurance race. It represented a fourth win for Swiss driver Buemi, a third for New Zealander Hartley and a maiden win for rookie Hirakawa of Japan.

They had overtaken a second Toyota driven by three-time defending champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez earlier Sunday after the latter had experienced engine problems.

That trio finished second, 2min 01.222sec behind their winning teammates.

In third place were Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Franck Mailleux in a Glickenhaus, at five laps.

Earlier, Irish actor Michael Fassbender and eight-time world rally champion Sebastien Ogier were among the drivers of the 62 cars which set off at the start of the 90th edition of the classic feat of endurance.

About a quarter of the 186 drivers entered were competing in their first 24 Hours of Le Mans, including movie star Fassbender, driving a Porsche 911 RSR in the Proton competition.

Fassbender, who has twice been nominated for Oscars, crashed during his fourth lap in qualifying but did not suffer any injury.

Fassbender’s team eventually finished in 51st position, 51 laps shy of the winning Toyota team.

History was also made when Josh Pierson took to the track two hours into the race to become the youngest driver in the event at 16 years and 118 days.

The record had been expected since the American was named alongside experienced Britons Alexander Lynn and Oliver Jarvis as one of the three drivers for the United Autosports Oreca in the second-tier LMP2 class.

The car struggled with early technical issues and was 13th when Pierson took the wheel shortly after 18:00 local time (1600 GMT) on Saturday.

As he drove onto the track, Pierson broke the record held by compatriot Matt McMurry who was 16 years and 202 days when he drove in 2014.

His team eventually came across the finish line in 10th position, 12 laps off the pace.

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