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OCTOBER 20, 1997

Gavin tests for Benetton

OLIVER GAVIN, the 1995 British Formula 3 Champion, who has been struggling to find work in recent years and has spent this season driving the Formula 1 Safety Car, was delighted to receive a call last week from Benetton to do three days of testing at Silverstone for the Enstone team.

The intention had been for Gerhard Berger to do the tests but the Austrian canceled after Suzuka, saying he was not feeling 100%, and so Benetton rang Gavin and the following day he was behind the wheel of a B197. The three-day test was ruined by bad weather.

Gavin has previously test-driven for McLaren, his first runs being as long ago as October 1993. He was nominated as Pacific Grand Prix's test driver in 1995 and came close to racing for the team at the end of that season but a superlicence problem prevented that happening.

On Saturday Gavin also shook down the three Benetton chassis which will be raced next weekend at Jerez by GerhardÊBerger and Jean Alesi, both men in their last drives with the team.