Updated: Saturday, 14 June 2014 22:38 | By Agence France-Presse

Le Mans 24 Hours under way under sunny skies

The Le Mans 24 Hours, the most celebrated endurace race in the calendar, got under way on Saturday under sunny skies and with 54 cars on the starting grid.

Le Mans 24 Hours under way under sunny skies

Drivers at the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race in western France, on June 14, 2014 - by Jean-Francois Monier

The 82nd version of the legendary race, over a road circuit in western France, was sent on its way by former Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso.

The field was led from the front by the Toyota TS040 hybrid car driven by a team headed by Alexander Wurz of Germany, ahead of the Porsche 919 hybrid of Switzerland's Neel Jani.

On the second row of the grid was a second Toyota, driven by Nicolas Lapierre of Switzerland, just ahead of a Porsche which featured another former Formula One ace, Mark Webber of Australia, returning to the race for the first tinme in 15 years.

Webber's last appearance was marred by a famously spectacular accident on the Hunaudieres straight, when his Mercedes literally took off.

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