A1GP DURBAN SHAPING UP
Date: 15 Dec, 2006
Preparations for the second A1GP street race in Durban, scheduled for February 25, 2007 are well in hand and spectators can look forward to an even bigger and better event than the award-winning one this year, said Ms Dana Cooper, CEO of A1 Team South Africa.
This year’s event in January was a sell-out success and was voted the best round of the 11-race 2005/06 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport by the competing nations’ team principals. South Africa is one of 23 countries contesting the second series of this unique motor sport competition that pits nation against nation in identical cars.
"Although we only had two months in which to organise the event and construct a brand new street circuit from scratch, we attracted 105 000 spectators over the three days — the biggest sporting crowd Durban has seen," said Cooper.
"Construction of the circuit started on November 23 and the first of the 25 grandstands was up by November 25. Once again we are working very closely with the management teams of the eThekwini municipality and KwaZulu Natal province and we are committed to doing the job with as little inconvenience as possible to Durban residents.
There would be no road works between December 8 and January 5 next year in deference to Durban’s busy holiday period and influx of visitors, claimed Cooper.
"In addition, we will be delaying road closures, which started in early December last year, until the last possible moment in 2007.
"Ticket sales, which started on December 1, are going very well despite there being no advertising at this stage.
"Last year’s race was a great success, but it was our first attempt at staging an international street race in Durban and we learnt a great deal," added Cooper.
"For the second race in February we aim to ensure that everyone who buys a ticket gets what they paid for. Grandstand seats will be numbered and there will be greater control over accessing these seats.
"We will be using ticket readers which will prevent the same ticket being used by different people to gain entry to the same grand stand. We will be able to ensure that the right person gains access to the seat they paid for.
"We’ve also taken steps to ensure that crowd control will be more efficient. With global television coverage, start times have to be strictly observed and we cannot have a repeat of last year’s delayed start, which was as a result of some spectators being in a restricted area that compromised their safety as well as the safety of the drivers and race officials.
"The introduction of a weekend pass will allow fans to save money by buying tickets for all three days (in the case of grand stand tickets) and for both Saturday and Sunday (general admission).
"Disabled fans have again been provided for in designated viewing areas. One minder per disabled patron is allowed into the viewing area and minder tickets are being sold at the same price as disabled tickets."
Cooper added that the success of the inaugural A1GP street race in Durban was the result of a massive team effort involving many people.
"We have to thank KwaZulu Natal premier Sibusiso Ndebele, eThekwini municipality mayor Obed Mlaba and Durban city manager Dr Mike Sutcliffe and their teams. We are making excellent progress with preparations for the 2007 race and everyone is pulling very well together.”