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China supports Durban's A1 race

2005-12-06 11:25

The delegation consists of Zhifeu Yu, general manager and owner of the Shanghai international circuit and vice chairman of the Federation of Automobile Sports of the People?s Republic of China, Jianmin Qu, director of China?s Administration for Industry and Commerce, and Liu Yu, seat holder of A1 Team China.

In the country to support the South African round of the 12 race international competition, the delegation hopes to gain support for the Chinese round in Shanghai on April 2 next year.

After driving around the circuit accompanied by members of the KwaZulu-Natal media, Yu told a media conference at the Suncoast Casino that while China had a state-of-the-art circuit in Shanghai that was the home of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix, they were not as experienced as South Africa in running motor races.

South Africa and Durban had a proud motor sport heritage and the Chinese delegation had come to South Africa to look and learn, he said.

"We wish to work together with South Africa to promote the A1 Grand Prix of Nations and motorsport around the world."

"The A1 Grand prix series is a great motor racing concept, pitting nation against nation and promoting the participating countries' culture and image globally."

He said that because the Durban round of the series coincided with the Chinese New Year, a total of 40 million people in China would be able to see the South African race.

The Chinese race is expected to be huge. "We will be catering for 300 000 spectators at our race in April," said Yu.

The Mayor of eThikwini (Durban), councillor Obed Mlaba, said that the City of eThikwini was pleased and proud to be hosting the South African round of the series.

"We want to showcase this city ? its culture, its history and its people ? to the rest of the world. It is a great opportunity for us to compete with the other great cities of South Africa for the attention of the outside world."

Mayor Mlaba thanked the provincial leadership under Premier Sibusiso Ndebele as well as the central government for their support and encouragement.

He told the Chinese delegation that South Africa enjoyed strong economic, trade and commerce and sporting ties with China, and his city would give Shanghai close co-operation in promoting the A1 GP series.

Mr Tony Teixeira, CEO of A1 Grand Prix Holdings, said he was proud to be a South African and involved with bringing the A1 Grand Prix to Durban.

"We want to show that South Africa can host a world-class street race despite the short time frame for preparing for the race."

"We have the full support of the City Council of eThikwini, the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the central government."

"We are very honoured today to welcome and host the delegation from China, who are the bosses of motorsport in China and also represent the Chinese government," he said.

Dana Cooper, CEO of A1 Grand Prix Team South Africa, said she was happy with preparations so far for the race.

"Despite the very short time frame, we are making excellent progress. It is a big team effort and everyone is pulling together very well."

She thanked Mayor Mlaba for his interest and enthusiastic support.

The only street circuit in the A1 calendar, the 3,7 km Durban circuit will start opposite Natal Command in Snell Parade, between Natal command and the beach, then run in a clockwise direction down Snell Parade, west into Argyle Road, then north along NMR Avenue, east along Battery Beach Road and under the M4 freeway, then south past the Suncoast Casino and back into Snell Parade.

For the Wheels24 map of the route, clickhere


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