Will A1 GP stay in Durban?

2008-02-19 00:00

This year’s A1GP race could be the last race to be held in Durban as the city deliberates on whether to bid for future races.

Strategic Projects Unit head Julie-May Ellingson said that although the municipality has held talks with the A1 Group, no details were discussed.

Ellingson said that ultimately the decision to continue with the race will be a political one.

“It is difficult to say when this will be made as I would imagine it would depend on the negotiations,” she said.

She said it is not a matter of losing the race, but rather a case of the city deciding if it still wants to host the race.

“There are a number of other motor races that we could host and we need to weigh up the cost benefits of each of these before we make any decisions,” said Ellingson.

Meanwhile, preparations for this weekend’s racing have reached fever pitch.

The grandstand is complete, hospitality tents are being stocked and tickets are being snatched up.

Project manager Mark Woolley said tickets have been selling exceptionally well and tickets for the grandstand opposite the pit are almost sold out.

“We are expecting bumper crowds at this year’s race. Tickets for the VIPs are sold out,” he said.

Woolley said most of the roads surrounding the area have already been closed off.

Only NMR Avenue and Argyle Road through to the M4 are still open to the public.

Spectators can look forward to an action-filled race day with several official support races, a Super Car parade and a Harley Davidson display. The additional races will raise money for various local charities.

A1 drivers, who arrived yesterday, will take part in a special Ferrari parade on the track.

The Ferraris have been supplied by Ferrari owners from all over the country.

“It promises to be a great day for everyone. There’s something to keep both young and old entertained on the race day,” said Woolley.

He said Hoy Park, George Campbell High School, Absa Stadium and the Durban Drive Inn areas have been demarcated for public parking, but ordinary spectators will have to walk to the stands, as shuttle buses will transport VIPs only.

A1 Team South Africa’s 21-year-old driver Adrian Zaugg and the car, Vulindlela, are gearing up for the big race.

“I’m really looking forward to racing in Durban, in my home country. I am highly motivated to do well in front of the home fans, especially after our win in Australia three weeks ago,” said Zaugg.

He said he enjoys the street circuit format.

“It’s a great platform for aspiring young drivers to show off their skills in a very competitive environment. The cars are evenly matched and at the end of the day it’s all about the skill of the drivers, their engineers and the technical teams.”

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