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Minardi's moral victory

THE Minardi team has won its law suit against Mugen and Ligier, claiming that it had an exclusive deal to race the Mugen Honda V10 engine.

The court in Ravenna, Italy ruled that the Minardi-Mugen relationship was "reaching a point of mutual agreement so that it was legitimate to expect that the contract would have been effectively concluded."

However the judge ruled that it would be wrong for him to award damages after what is in effect an emergency court ruling. Minardi has appealed the decision and now intends to spend two years going through normal legal channels.

Minardi is also believed to be taking legal action in England against Benetton boss Flavio Briatore - who organized the Ligier-Mugen deal.

The Italian meanwhile recently bought a new house near St Tropez in the south of France and we hear that he is now planning to operate from this location throughout the summer months as he runs Benetton.

It will soon be announced that Briatore has ceded control of Ligier to Tom Walkinshaw in exchange for Walkinshaw's shareholding in Benetton.

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