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Meanwhile in Barcelona

WHILE other teams were busy at Estoril, Ligier and Sauber chose to go to Barcelona instead, and the weather was slightly better than in Portugal with Ligier running three out of four days without rain.

Ligier ran both Olivier Panis and Pedro Diniz, each driver completing around 70 laps as the team carried out engine testing work for Mugen Honda. The best time was a 1m23.23s set by Panis on the Tuesday when the sun was shining. On Thursday Ligier was joined by Sauber which continued to test over the weekend with both Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Johnny Herbert running. This is to be the Swiss team's last test before the cars are shipped out to Australia, and so it is very difficult to judge their level of competitiveness as the C15 has not been run against other top 1996 machinery. Frentzen did test at Estoril a week ago and recorded a best lap of 1m22.01s - which was very quick at the time.

Ligier is due to arrive in Estoril tomorrow for four days of final tests against the other F1 teams before despatching its equipment.

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