After the destruction of a Ford Mondeo by Nigel Mansell at Donington Park last year I suppose all future good prangs will be called “Doing a Mansell”. The details of this sensational return to British racing by Nigel are now water under the bridge. A mistake, magnified by inexperience of front-drive saloons? Dramatised by a shunt up the boot, as Mansell was quick to emphasise. Let it rest.
What does disturb me is the fact that the course-car was sent out several times. Not because of the accident but to bunch the cars up after the race leader was getting too far ahead, in the view of the race officials. I predicted that this would happen last May. Now it has, making a farce of motor racing. Fine for the TV viewers and the average race-side spectators! A farce nevertheless. And highly unfair to the driver whose car is in the lead, because he may have a very good reason for building up a useful cushion between himself and the next competitor. His tyres may be going off, the engine or some other part of the car may have developed a hiccup that could become worse. To be denied the “cushion” by a sensation-prompting pace-car is unfair in these circumstances. Quite apart from the fact that going as fast as you can, or as quickly as is expedient to your race strategy, for the entire distance, used to be what motor-racing was all about. . . The thought also occurs that with all the shunts which are a feature of saloon-car contests, you might think that the officials would not wish to bunch up the cars by artificial means!
Back to “Doing a Mansell”, what is one wrecked Mondeo to Ford Moco? Especially as Ford again heads the UK sales race. The Autumn figures showed Escort and Mondeo ahead of the Vauxhall Astra, with Fiesta fourth. And the Ford Mondeo won the Sunday Express Car of the Year Award, judged by 58 top motoring writers in 20 European countries, beating the Citroën Xantia, Mercedes-Benz C, Vauxhall/Opel Corsa, Renault Twingo and Peugeot 306, with the Rovonda 600 and Honda Accord scarcely in the hunt.