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NOVEMBER 3, 1997

In court in Imola

THERE was a rush of activity in the Ayrton Senna trial at Imola last week with David Coulthard, Patrick Head, Adrian Newey and Frank Williams all appearing in quick succession. Coulthard - who was Williams test driver when Senna was killed in May 1994 - told the court that he had no doubts about the safety of the Williams car. The court was shown a film in which David demonstrated the flexibility of the Williams steering wheel.

Both Patrick Head and Adrian Newey declined to answer questions from investigators and indicated that they would present written statements to the court at a later date. Both considered that there was little to be gained from questions from the defense.

Williams did face the prosecutors and argued that he has always believed that the car did not leave the road because of a steering failure. He told reporters outside the court that the reason for the accident may never be known. Williams said that tests on the steering wheel done after the accident indicated that the steering column was not to blame.

The trial is due to continue for another month and a verdict is expected in December.