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Castroneves' trial set for March 2009

Helio CastronevesHelio Castroneves will stand trial on tax evasion charges in March next year - just weeks before the 2009 IndyCar Series season is set to begin.

The Brazilian, his sister Kati Castroneves, and lawyer Alan Miller stand accused of failing to pay tax on $5.5 million of earnings between 1999 and 2004.

Castroneves has continued to drive for Penske since being indicted in early October, contesting the Petit Le Mans for the team's American Le Mans Series arm and then receiving special permission to travel to Australia for the non-championship Surfers Paradise IndyCar race.

The team have not yet commented on whether the trial date will impact on their plans for 2009, with Castroneves due in Miami federal court in 2 March and the IndyCar season scheduled to begin at St Petersburg on 5 April.

The 33-year-old Brazilian is one of the series' highest-profile drivers after his pair of Indianapolis 500 wins and his victory in the Dancing with the Stars television show.

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