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Nigel Mansell today won the 30 lap Altech Grand Prix Masters race at Kyalami, but he was hounded all the way by 58-year old Emerson Fittipaldi. The pair were only more than one second apart on one lap with Fittipaldi frequently trying to come down the inside of 52-year old Mansell. One lap they posted the same lap time to the thousands of a second.
But although Mansell admitted to a couple of tiny mistakes, they were never big enough to result in an order change, and Mansell was 0.408s ahead at the chequered flag.
It was a fascinating struggle between two of the sport's finest, and both had compliments for one another at the end of the race.
Riccardo Patrese held third place from start to finish, initially shadowing the leading pair. But at half distance he began to drop away and concentrated on the queue behind him, comprising Jan Lammers, Derek Warwick who had just overtaken Andrea de Cesaris, Christian Danner, Hans Stuck and Eddie Cheever.
On lap 23 de Cesaris surprised Warwick by moving up to fifth place, and when de Cesaris had a go at Lammers the Dutchman dropped out of contention has his tyres gave up.
Warwick remained consistently competitive, pushing de Cesaris up to Patrese, but the former Brabham driver and Kyalami winner had enough in hand to ease away at the end and keep his third place.
As ever, throughout the weekend, the cars remained remarkable reliable with only Stefan Johansson spinning out on lap three, and Jacques Laffite colliding with compatriot Rene Arnoux after the former suffered several pit stops.
The drivers were immensely complimentary throughout to the concept of Scott Poulter, and 68,000 spectators attended the race track on Sunday, which also featured Minardi two seater races and a performance by WestLife! Result 1: Nigel Mansell - 50:55.154 150.697 kph2: Emerson Fittipaldi - 50:55.562s3: Riccardo Patrese - 51:15.816s4: Andrea de Cesaris - 51:16.854s5: Derek Warwick - 51:17.007s6: Hans Stuck - 51:18.355s7: Christian Danner - 51:19.272s8: Eddie Cheever - 51:27.359s9: Jan Lammers - 51:27.932s10: Eliseo Salazar - 51:38.573s11: Patrick Tambay - 52:06.738s12: Rene Arnoux - 52:07.890s. Fastest lap: Mansell, 1:36.390s - 159.216 kph
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