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Lamy confirmed at Minardi

PEDRO LAMY has signed to stay with Minardi this year. The 24-year-old Portuguese racer drove for the little Italian team for half of last year, having replaced Pierluigi Martini.

He scored his first F1 point - and Minardi's only top six finish in 1995 - at Adelaide, finishing sixth in the reliable but not very rapid M196. In doing so Pedro became the first Portuguese driver ever to score a F1 World Championship point. The only other Portuguese driver to qualify for an F1 race was Mario Cabral who did a handful of races in the 1950s.

Lamy has had a chequered F1 career but did very well in the junior formulae. He won the German Formula 3 title in 1992, and then finished runner-up to Olivier Panis in the 1993 European Formula 3000 Championship - winning at Pau. At the end of that season he made his F1 debut with Lotus, standing in for Alessandro Zanardi after the Italian had his enormous accident at Spa.

In 1994, Lamy stayed with Lotus, but after four races he crashed heavily in testing at Silverstone, when his car suffered a rear wing failure. The Lotus went over the barriers and through debris fencing. The front end of the car was torn off and Lamy suffered nasty leg injuries.

He returned to F1 that autumn, testing briefly for Sauber. He had lengthy negotiations with Tyrrell, Pacific and Forti, and tested for Tyrrell and Arrows.

The team is expected to name Lamy's team mate shortly. The candidates for the drive are Luca Badoer, Tarso Marques, Giancarlo Fisichella and Taki Inoue.

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