Motor Racing: Mansell heads qualifiers

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NIGEL MANSELL made a quick study of another unfamiliar road course yesterday and wasted little time moving to the head of the field in practice, writes Toni Toomey from Lake Elkhart, Wisconsin.

It was Mansell's first time out on the Road America circuit in a race car, having done a couple of laps on Thursday in a sedan with his family and his crew chief, Jim McGee, just to get the lay of the land.

It took exactly 20 minutes of morning practice for Mansell to be quickest in the field. His best lap for the morning lowered the track record set by Paul Tracy last year by over one second.

Tracy was second but ended his practice early crashing heavily and spreading debris. Ten minutes into the afternoon qualifying session Mansell found himself in 13th position.

After a brief stop in the pits for service Mansell moved up to third position, but he was concerned that the car seemed to have lost grip from the morning session.

Then with nine minutes left in the session, Mansell reclaimed provisional pole position as Tracy temporarily gave up the chase.

Tracy remained second quickest followed by Andretti, Boesel and his teammate, Scott Brayton. In spite of the mid-session problem with grip, Mansell improved his time to 1 min 8.73 sec.