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Collard for Prost?

RUMORS in French circles in recent days suggest that Alain Prost is going to sign up currently unemployed French driver Emmanuel Collard to be his team's test driver, in preparation for the arrival of Peugeot V10 engines next year.

Last season Jordan began testing the new Peugeot engine as early as August and it is expected that Prost will want to do the same so that the combination will be reliable and competitive from the start of the 1998 season. Prost engineers will already be considering how best to fit the Peugeot engines into the back of the current Prost JS45 chassis so that the 1998 engines can be tested later this summer.

Collard is an obvious choice for the team. He may not have ever raced in a Grand Prix but the Frenchman, who turned 26 last week, is one of the most experienced test drivers in F1 having completed many thousands of miles with Williams, Benetton, Jordan, Ligier and Tyrrell.

Collard has been struggling since his longtime sponsor Elf decided to quit F1 at the end of last year. He has a deal to race this year for the Marlboro-sponsored JB Racing, which is running Porsches in the FIA GT Championship. JB Racing is being run by former Grand Prix driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille, a big fan of Collard, who tried to get Emmanuel into the Jordan team a couple of years ago.

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