Motor racing: Fittipaldi takes New Hampshire pole

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Emerson Fittipaldi, continuing the Penske team's domination of IndyCar, took pole position for today's Slick 50 200 race with a track record lap of 175.091mph yesterday. It will be Fittipaldi's 16th pole position of his career, but his first this year and first on a short oval track. Raul Boesel, who aborted two separate trips around the one-mile New Hampshire International Raceway oval, dramatically qualified on his third appearance with only minutes left, posting the day's second-fastest time, 173.856mph. Fittipaldi's performance provided the seventh pole of the year for the Penske team, which has won eight of the 11 previous races. Fittipaldi took one of those victories. 'After the first lap, I could see the track was smooth and I could lean more on the throttle,' he said. Boesel's time bumped last year's winner, Nigel Mansell, to the second row with a speed of 173.845mph. The reigning IndyCar champion, who is rumoured to be on the verge of a return to Formula One, hit the wall during the first qualifying session. Mansell was unhurt in the collision. 'Everything was going fine and the next thing I knew I'm in the wall,' he said. 'I think a tyre went flat. It was quite a wake-up call. I guess I was doing right around 170mph.' The Nascar stock car driver Ernie Irvan was critically injured yesterday in a crash during practice for today's GM Goodwrench Dealers 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Irvan, who sustained what track and Nascar officials called 'multiple injuries', including a fractured skull, was airlifted to St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Luigi Chinetti, who won the Le Mans 24 Hours for Ferrari in 1949, driving for all but 30 minutes of the race, has died aged 93.

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