Motor Racing: Mansell stays on title track

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The Independent Online
NIGEL MANSELL, hampered by handling problems on his Lola-Ford, finished in sixth place behind the race winner, Al Unser Jnr, in the Molson Indy here yesterday.

However, the Briton picked up sufficient points to extend his overall lead in the championship since his nearest rival, the Brazilian, Emerson Fittipaldi, finished one place behind him.

The story of the day was the Lola-Chevrolets piloted by the two Americans, the PPG Cup champion, Bobby Rahal, and Unser Jnr. The two former team-mates and both Indianapolis 500 winners went at it wheel to wheel until Unser Jnr took the lead at the second round of pit stops. At the finish, Unser was over 11 seconds ahead of the second-placed Rahal.

Mansell's car was almost undriveable from the start, 'no stability in the right-handers', he told his team. Mansell could not even get the better of his team-mate, Mario Andretti, who managed to stay just ahead of him for the distance.

The second pit stop shuffle of the race deposited Mansell back out on the course in sixth place still behind Andretti and just ahead of the one man who poses a serious threat to Mansell's PPG Cup hopes, Fittipaldi. With 25 laps remaining, Fittipaldi began to move up on Mansell but could not get close enough to challenge.

At the temporary street course in Toronto last July the Lola-Chevrolets put on a surprisingly good show while the Lola-Fords of Mansell and Andretti had an abysmal weekend. Once again on a Canadian street circuit the Newman-Haas Lolas cars faltered, while the Chevrolets flourished.

The problem for Mansell's car seems to be the way the Ford engine delivers power to the Lola chassis exiting the slow, tight corners. It is the measure of the champion that he stuck to his task and made the most of an awful afternoon. During the cool-down lap Mansell radioed his thanks to his team, saying: 'I just couldn't drive the car.'

Underlining the Chevrolets reappearance on the scene, Stefan Johansson in a Penske-Chevrolet overtook Scott Goodyear's Lola-Ford on the last lap to finish in third place.

MOLSON INDY (Vancouver) Leading final positions: 1 A Unser Jnr (US) Lola-Chevrolet 1hr 49min 52.452sec; 2 B Rahal (US) Lola-Chevrolet +11.199sec; 3 S Johansson (Swe) Penske-Chevrolet +34.337; 4 S Goodyear (Can) Lola-Ford +42.556; 5 M Andretti (US) Lola-Ford +47.093; 6 N Mansell (GB) Lola-Ford +1 lap; 7 E Fittipaldi (Bra) Penske-Chevrolet +1; 8 T Fabi (It) Lola-Chevrolet +1; 9 R Boesel (Bra) Lola- Ford +1; 10 D Sullivan (US) Lola-Chevrolet +2; 11 R Guerrero (US) Lola-Chevrolet +2; 12 H Matsushita Lola-Ford (Japan) +6; 13 P Tracy (Can) Penske-Chevrolet +9; 14 D Dobson (US) Galmer-Chevrolet +17.

Overall PPG Cup points: 1 Mansell 168pts; 2 Fittipaldi 135; 3 Tracy 122; 4 Boesel 114; 5 Rahal 111; 6 Andretti 107.