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2013-03-07 09:23

END OF AN ERA FOR KNYSNA: Renault's withdrawal from the 2013 Knysna Hillclimb brings an end to a glorious four-year run for the French automaker in the annual Speed Festival.

Fans hoping to test their skills at a 2013 Knysna Speed Festival will de devastated by the announcement that the event has been cancelled.

The event and its associated and now famous hill-climb was due to run from May 17-19 2013 but prime sponsor Renault has withdrawn.

The Knysna Motor Show will still be held on May 4 2013.

'TRIED OUR BEST'

Ian Shrosbree, one of the event's organisers, said: “The event, which grew tremendously in the four years that it was run and had become one of South Africa’s premier motorsport events, has been unable to secure a title sponsor following the withdrawal of Renault.

“Renault unexpectedly withdrew very late, leaving us with little time to find a replacement. We tried our best most of the companies that were interested had already committed their budgets to other marketing initiatives.

"As the event has grown so much in recent years, and the cars have become faster, we could not compromise on competitor or spectator safety and infrastructure, hence we had to make the hard decision to cancel the event.”

NO BUDGET

Renault SA's head of communications Danielle Melville told Wheels24: "It was decided towards the end of 2012 that due to our two major launches in 2013 (Clio4 and Duster), our focus and priorities in terms of budget had to be with these models which meant we were unable to be a sponsor in 2013."

The hill-climb organisers hope to revive the event in 2014.

As for those who have already made bookings and travel arrangements, the organisers issued this statement: “We are aware that a number of competitors and spectators have already booked accommodation and made travel and leave arrangements to attend the hill-climb. We would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of having to cancel at this late stage.

"Ideally, we would have preferred to make the announcement earlier, but while there was a chance of saving the event we believed that we had to pursue all options.”

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