Motor Racing: Andretti subdues Penske

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE Penske team's seven-race run of victories came to an end when Michael Andretti won the Toronto Molson IndyCar race. Driving a Reynard-Ford Cosworth, the American beat his compatriot, Bobby Rahal, who was in a Lola-Honda, by 6.801sec, with Emerson Fittipaldi, of Brazil, third in a Penske-Ilmor.

Andretti averaged 96.673mph over the 174.44-mile street circuit to take his 29th IndyCar victory. His father, Mario, driving in his 400th race in his final year on the circuit, was fourth in a Lola Ford-Cosworth.

Al Unser Jr retired on the first lap but retained his lead in the championship standings, with 127 points to Fittipaldi's 100.

Nigel Mansell, the defending champion, led early in the race before retiring on the 66th lap with handling problems.

'I didn't feel anything, so I don't know if I was hit,' Mansell said. 'There's a lot of debris out there and I think that's what caused it.' On the 25th lap his right rear tyre went flat and he limped in his Lola to the pits. That put him one lap behind and all but out of contention.

After Mansell and Robby Gordon, who was on pole, had lost laps due to punctures, Michael Andretti took the lead on lap 25 and was never seriously challenged after that. 'This year has been a strange year,' he said. 'We started on a big high then we've had lows. We've been struggling.

'To come back here and score a win, maybe that will put us back on track' said the 31-year-old Andretti, who returned to IndyCar racing after a poor year in Formula One.