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Sospiri to test for Benetton...

THE Formula 3000 Champion, Italian Vincenzo Sospiri, has been hired to be Benetton's test driver in 1996. His arrival in the team helps to boost the team's desired image of being an Italian operation.

The announcement was a surprise as Sospiri had been linked to a possible test drive at Jordan, and the Benetton test driver had been expected to be an Elf nominee.

Sospiri, who tested for Ligier earlier this winter, is 29 years old and has been racing on and off in Formula 3000 since 1990 when he did selected events with Eddie Jordan Racing. He did the full season in 1991, and then had to drop back to Italian F3 for 1992. He finished fifth in the series and moved back up to F3000 with Mythos in 1993 before joining SuperNova in 1994. He did not win an F3000 race until last year when he and his SuperNova team mate Ricardo Rosset dominated the series. A latecomer to F1, it remains to be seen if he can emulate his 1991 F3000 teammate Damon Hill and establish himself in F1 racing.

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