Motor Racing: Mansell fit for Indy 500

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NIGEL MANSELL has been given the all-clear by doctors to compete in the Indianapolis 500 on 30 May after undergoing surgery on his injured back. The world Formula One champion had an operation on his back following his IndyCar crash in Phoenix last month, but doctors yesterday passed the Briton fit for the Indy 500, for which qualifying starts this weekend.

A statement from Mansell's surgeon, Dr George Morris, said: 'Nigel was very aggressive about wanting to continue the race season and he went up to Indianapolis at the advice of the Newman Haas Team and consulted with Dr Terry Trammell, who is experienced in trauma and race injuries. It was decided that Nigel should have immediate surgery and he returned to Florida immediately where we did the surgery.

'Terry assisted and the gamble on Nigel's part to have the surgery to enable him to continue the race season has so far paid off. Had the surgery not gone well, he would have been unable to race.'

Ferrari have recruited Jean Todt, Peugeot Talbot's sports chairman for the past 12 years, to the post of director of sports management. Todt will run Ferrari's Maranello base and coordinate design and development of cars and motors.

Under Todt, Peugeot won the 1984 rallying world championship, the Paris-Dakar rally from 1987 to 1990 and last year's sportscar world championship. But they announced last month that they could not afford to take part in Formula One next year.

Ferrari have made another poor start to the season, with two points after five races.