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Briatore waits on ban verdict

MOTORSPORT: Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore will discover today whether his appeal against a lifetime ban from motor racing imposed by the FIA is to be overturned.

Briatore's lawyer, Philippe Ouakrat, has outlined his client's assertion that the punishment handed down by motor sport's governing body in September was illegal. The Italian also wants damages of £900,000.

Briatore was involved in a conspiracy which saw Nelson Piquet Jnr deliberately crash his car at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Briatore said ex-FIA president Max Mosley was "blinded by an excessive desire for personal revenge" in pursuing the case -- after Briatore threatened a breakaway series -- and believes the FIA did not have legal grounds to issue such a ban.

Renault's former executive director of engineering Pat Symonds has also appealed against his five-year ban for involvement in the scandal.

Ryo's relieved to get Masters invite

GOLF: Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa says he has added focus for the upcoming golf season after receiving his invitation to return to this year's US Masters by virtue of his results over the past year.

"I've been waiting for this moment," Ishikawa said. "It's a huge relief to get (the invitation) again and it gives me an immediate sense of purpose."

Peterhansel top of cars in Dakar

MOTORSPORT: BMW driver Stephane Peterhansel took the lead in the Dakar Rally car category after claiming his 52nd special stage win in the competition.

Peterhansel, sixth overall, was in control from the off on the La Rioja to Fiambala stage and finished five minutes 44 seconds ahead of VW's Carlos Sainz.

That leaves him with a lead of four minutes 33 seconds over the second-placed Spaniard when the rally resumes today.

Sunday's pole-sitter, Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah, resumes in third after ending the stage 10 minutes behind Peterhansel.

Adams through

DARTS: Third seed Martin Adams cruised into the second round of the BDO Darts Championship at Frimley Green, Surrey.

Adams defeated Australia's Anthony Fleet 3-0 to meet Daryl Gurney in round three.

NBA: Miami 92 Atlanta 75, Oklahoma City 98 Chicago 85, New Orleans 91 Utah 87, LA Clippers 105 Portland 95.