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Rain postpones Marlboro 500.

Sunday's season ending Marlboro 500 at the Fontana 500 was abandoned after just 33 laps after persistent rain made any racing impossible and the event will re-start at 6pm UK time on Monday.

Heavy rain in Southern California on Sunday afternoon halted what was developing into an intriguing battle for the CART Fed-Ex title at the two-mile Fontana Superspeedway between Gil De Ferran and Adrian Fernandez.

De Ferran holds pole position as far as the Championship is concerned, as the Brazilian Team Penske driver will re-start the race in fourth position, behind Juan Montoya, Dario Franchitti and Michael Andretti. His closest title rival, Adrian Fernandez is only ninth although the Mexican had been making steady progress through the field from 14th on the grid.

What was a four way scrap for the title going into the race has already been reduced to a three way fight after Paul Tracy suffered an engine failure just shy of the 30 lap mark. The Canadian Team KOOL Green driver was running comfortably in sixth position when excess pressure in his Honda power unit caused the plenham chamber to blow, also removing the car's engine cover.

Cristiano Da Matta was unfortunate enough to run over a piece of Tracy's bodywork and the young Brazilian driver ended his PPI Motorsports career with a high speed accident into the outside wall at turn four after the debris smashed through his right front suspension.

Prior to the stoppage, the race was a typical flat out Superspeedway affair with plenty of passing and dicing for the lead. The two Team Penske Reynard-Honda's of De Ferran and Helio Castroneves headed the early going and the two drivers continued to work together and swap places for the lead as they tried to break away from the pack.

Andretti, Franchitti and Montoya all battled furiously for third while Christian Fittipaldi, Jimmy Vasser, Brack, Tracy and Patrick Carpentier all took turns at challenging the top five. Lower down the order, Team Patrick partners Roberto Moreno and Fernandez also worked together to move through the field with Moreno acting as a fuel saving buffer for his Mexican team-mate as the two Reynard-Ford's crept into the top ten.

At the moment, De Ferran holds a 16 point lead over Fernandez and a 23 point margin over Brack but with just 66 of 500 miles completed, anything can still happen.

Running order after 33 of 250 laps.

1. Juan Montoya.
2. Dario Franchitti.
3. Michael Andretti.
4. Gil De Ferran.
5. Jimmy Vasser.
6. Kenny Brack.
7. Tony Kanaan.
8. Max Papis.
9. Adrian Fernandez.
10. Alex Tagliani.
11. Roberto Moreno.
12. Oriol Servia.
13. Patrick Carpentier.
14. Christian Fittipaldi.
15. Memo Gidley.
16. Mark Blundell.
17. Mauricio Gugelmin.
18. Helio Castroneves.
19. Casey Mears.
20. Tarso Marques.
21. Michel Jourdain Jr.
22. Shinji Nakano +1 lap.
23. Alex Barron +1 lap.
24. Paul Tracy OUT – Engine Failure.
25. Cristiano Da Matta OUT - Accident.
26. Luiz Garcia Jr OUT - Mechanical.



Related Pictures

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The championship rivals pose with the Vanderbilt Cup
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