Mansell Leads Legends Home
Posted 13 November 2005 - 06:08 PM
Former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell rolled back the years to win a thrilling inaugural Grand Prix Masters race at Kyalami in South Africa on Sunday.
The new concept, a self-styled "seniors tour" for retired Formula 1 racers, proved a smash hit with drivers and fans as the old-timers showed they still had what it takes to entertain.
Mansell started from pole but still finished less than half a second ahead of his old IndyCar rival Emerson Fittipaldi.
This despite the fact that the Brazilian legend was racing a competitive single-seater for the first time in ten years.
Neither driver appeared to be show-boating and Mansell claimed afterwards that he had raced as hard as ever to secure victory.
"What a race!" he said.
"Pole was the critical factor today given how hard I was pushed by Emerson.
"He just didn't give up and nor did I expect him to.
"I tried to break-away from him but he just kept his nose behind my car and on a couple of occasions made moves on the inside of corners!
"I simply could not have driven any harder out there today!"
The 58-year-old Fittipaldi, F1 world champion in 1972 and '74, looked as hungry as ever and tried everything who could to pass Mansell in the closing stages of the 30-lap race.
"I remember a few years ago when Nigel came over to Indy Cars and the late great [Ayrton] Senna told me to watch out for Nigel's car control," recalled Fittipaldi afterwards.
"Today I witnessed that first hand again and at times, I really thought he had crossed the limit but time and time again he managed to keep the car on the track - and get faster!
"He will make a mistake, I kept thinking and I tried to pass him on several occasions but there simply wasn't enough braking zone."
Former Brabham and Williams star Riccardo Patrese finished third, 20s back of the leading duo.
The Italian just managed to fend off countryman Andrea de Cesaris who came out top of a massive scrap with Britain's Derek Warwick.
Hans-Joachim Stuck was sixth.
Grand Prix Masters is planning to stage as many as six races in 2006, and a British round is in the works – possibly at Silverstone.
On the evidence of Kyalami, it could well be a sell-out.
GP Masters result from Kyalami - 30 laps
1 Nigel Mansell 50m55.428s
2 Emerson Fittipaldi +0.408s
3 Riccardo Patrese +20.662s
4 Andrea de Cesaris +21.700s
5 Derek Warwick +21.853s
6 Hans-Joachim Stuck +23.201s
7 Christian Danner +24.188s
8 Eddie Cheever +32.205s
9 Jan Lammers +32.778s
10 Eliseo Salazar +43.419s
11 Patrick Tambay +1m11.584s
12 Rene Arnoux +1m12.736s
R Jacques Laffite +17 laps
R Stefan Johansson +28 laps
Posted 13 November 2005 - 06:25 PM
Didn't they race together in Formula One too? I've seen a few of their Indy Races.
Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:04 PM
Mansell raced in F1 from 1980 – 1992 and then from 1994 - 1995 (just 4 races in 94 and just 2 races in 95 though...)
Edited by Senna, 13 November 2005 - 07:08 PM.
Posted 14 November 2005 - 07:22 AM
a massive compliment from the departed Champion for Nige.
"You just don't mess with Jacques Villeneuve" - Murray Walker, 1997 Hungarian GP.
"When Jacques was with us, he was a very aggressive driver, fiercely competitive, mentally hard as nails. Very quick with it, very gifted. A bright fellow, undoubtedly, very intelligent. He was an absolutely born racing driver - look at the way he'd bang wheels with Michael, pass people on the outside, that kind of thing" -Sir Frank Williams on Jacques Villeneuve
"This year, with BMW, JV's going very well, and I'm pleased for him. Whether or not he'll get a drive next year I don't know, but I hope he does, he's an unusual, and very strong addition to the F1 community. A character." - Sir Frank Williams again on Jacques Villeneuve
The Nojvnof1 2006 driver lineup - Jacques Villeneuve, Nico Rosberg, Christian Klein, Scott Speed.
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