Motor Racing: Mansell makes early exit after slip-up: Unser's IndyCar win

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NIGEL MANSELL's day ended early again, in the Slick 50 IndyCar race here yesterday, after a wheel- tapping incident with his team- mate, Mario Andretti, left him with suspension damage. 'The car wasn't handling at all after that,' Mansell, who had been in contention with the leaders, said.

Mansell apologised to Andretti though it was agreed that the incident was not the Briton's fault. 'I got a great slipstream and was half a car-length ahead,' Mansell said. Andretti squeezed Mansell down on to the apron of the track. 'I tried giving Mario as much room as I could. Unfortunately, that's motor racing. What happened today was just a racing accident.'

Al Unser Jnr took the chequered flag as Emerson Fittipaldi's pit- stop strategy backfired on him.

The race ended up as another Penske team 1-2-3 finish. The pole- sitter, Fittipaldi, lost the lead with blistered tyres early in the race but got back on the rails while Unser struggled with a problem in his engine management system. Fittipaldi's pit-stop strategy had given him a lap on the field, including his Penske team-mates, but in the closing laps, the Brazilian was forced into the pits for a splash of fuel, which took just long enough for Unser to claim the lead. With only three laps to go, Fittipaldi could not catch his team-mate.

When Penske's chief chassis designer, the Englishman Nigel Bennett, was told that Penske were ruining the competition this year, he smiled and said: 'Tough.'

Rahal-Hogan and Honda have announced that they are ending their partnership at the end of this season. Bobby Rahal and his partner, Carl Hogan, have been dissatisfied with the way Honda has handled the development of their IndyCar programme. It has been suggested that Honda have already found a replacement team.

The Londoner, Steve Robertson, remains the points leader in the PPG Firestone Indy Lights championship in spite of a disappointing third-place finish. Robertson was leading until handling problems developed on the restart after a full- course caution. The Canadian, Greg Moore, took the win.

Tom Wheatcroft, the owner of the Donington circuit, has drawn up plans for a banked oval circuit to be built between Birmingham and Leicester on the Warwickshire- Northamptonshire border. The oval would be suitable for IndyCar and Nascar races. According to Wheatcroft, once permits have been cleared the construction should not take longer than 15 months.