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Salo and Sospiri collide at Bercy

MIKA SALO and Vincenzo Sospiri - potential Tyrrell team mates in 1996 - collided heavily during the annual Elf Master Karting event at the Bercy exhibition center in Paris, France at the weekend - and both ended up nursing injuries.

The crash saw Salo's kart roll and Sospiri swerving head-on into a retaining wall. Mika was taken off to hospital to have X-rays on his shoulder, while Sospiri damaged his hand.

The Elf-backed event was full of surprises, the major one being that none of the big names advertised showed up to race: Michael Schumacher decided not to take part, his manager reporting that he had flu. Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Jacques Villeneuve, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger all stayed away because of their testing commitments.

There were, however, still plenty of F1 drivers in action, notably Johnny Herbert, Olivier Panis, Gianni Morbidelli, Salo, Jean-Christophe Boullion, Luca Badoer, Pedro Lamy, Andrea Montermini and Roberto Moreno. In addition there were Emmanuel Collard, Franck Lagorce, Paul Belmondo, Yannick Dalmas, Eric Van de Poele, Olivier Grouillard and F1 veteran Rene Arnoux.

The racing was fierce but very exciting with Saturday's semi-finals producing some wild battles, notably one between Panis, Herbert, Collard and Arnoux.

The Saturday final witnessed a great battle between an impressive David Terrien and Morbidelli. Terrien currently races in French Formula 1600 but the 19-year-old from Nantes - World Karting Champion in 1993 - looked hugely impressive as he overtook Gianni two corners from the finish.

On Sunday Terrien was again impressive winning one of the semi-finals from Badoer, while the other was won by another youngster Sebastien Enjolras, who beat Collard. In the final, however, it was Morbidelli who won, leading home Badoer and Terrien.

The racing at Bercy is organized by former racer Philippe Streiff, who has been confined to a wheelchair since he crashed an AGS F1 car in testing at Rio de Janeiro in March 1989.

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