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Italian Driver Alboreto Killed

April 26, 2001

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BERLIN (AP) _ Michele Alboreto, a one-time Formula One star, was killed when the Audi he was test driving crashed in eastern Germany, the carmaker said Wednesday.

The 44-year-old Italian was behind the wheel of a new R8 car when it spun out of control and turned over on a straight section of the Lausitzring circuit, in what Audi’s sporting chief Wolfgang Ullrich called an ``incomprehensible tragedy.″

The carmaker said it didn’t yet know what caused the crash, adding that the car had already completed thousands of miles of tests on various circuits without incident.

Alboreto, born in Milan on Dec. 23, 1956, broke into Formula One with the Tyrrell team in 1981 and won his first race in Las Vegas that year and again in Detroit two years later.

He was hired by Ferrari in 1984 and a year later nearly became the first Italian to win the drivers’ championship in more than 30 years. He finished second behind Alain Prost of France.

``Alboreto was an important driver in the Ferrari history,″ Ferrari chairman Luca Di Montezemolo said. ``His death caused me a deep sorrow.″

After three more seasons at the famous Italian team and spells at smaller teams, he turned to sports cars and sealed the Le Mans 24 Hours title in 1997 with Stefan Johansson and Tom Kristensen for the TWR Porsche team.

His most recent success came with victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring race in the United States.

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