NOVEMBER 25, 1996

Sandro's Benetton test

ITALIAN racer Sandro Nannini will test a Grand Prix Benetton this week in Portugal - six years after his F1 career was ended when his right arm was severed in a helicopter accident. Nannini underwent an 11-hour operation in Rome during which his arm was sewn back on by micro surgeons.

Two years after the accident Nannini tested a specially-modified Ferrari F92A F1 car at Fiorano, completing 38 laps of the Ferrari test track.

Since then the 37-year-old from Siena - who competed in 77 Grands Prix between 1985 and 1990, being credited with victory in the 1989 Japanese GP - has built himself a career in touring car racing with the Alfa Romeo factory team. He has won several races and has proved to be very competitive but returning to F1 has never been an option as his arm is not strong enough for F1. He finished third in this year's International Touring Car series.

The Benetton test comes about as the result of a promise made by Benetton boss Flavio Briatore at the time of Nannini's accident.