Motor Racing: Penske pegged back: Andretti wins again

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL ANDRETTI took his second IndyCar victory of the year in his Reynard-Ford while Nigel Mansell failed to finish on this temporary street circuit for the second year in a row.

Punctured tyres put both Robby Gordon and Mansell out of contention, but not before the Lola- Ford rivals had shown that they can now out-run the Penskes. The Penske domination has been slowed if not halted, reviving the competition in the series.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the second-place finish by Bobby Rahal, with Honda power that may finally be coming into its own. Al Unser Jnr went out of the race on the first lap with an engine problem, while Paul Tracy came into the pits after first- lap contact with Andretti.

Early in the race, Gordon and Mansell established a substantial lead over the rest of the field before mechanical gremlins ended their hopes. Mansell fell back after a puncture. Finally, not able to maintain the pace with an ill-handling car, he decided to park it rather than be a hazard.

'I'm coming in,' he told the team, 'I'm just in everyone's way. Something went wrong with the car.' According to Jim McGee, his crew chief, something in the suspension may have failed. Andretti thought he may have tapped Mansell early on, but after he withdrew from the race Mansell said he was not aware of contact with Andretti.

Although he made no mention of it, Mansell's left hand was painful and swollen from an incident earlier in the weekend, when the steering wheel was wrenched out of his hand. The injury no doubt added to the difficulty of hustling his limping Lola around the track.

The day was a disappointment for Mansell, but there was some satisfaction in knowing that the Penske steam-roller may be going out of tune for now.