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A1GP race cars still in UK as Gold Coast event in limbo

Article from: The Courier-Mail

Greg Stolz and David Murray

October 17, 2009 12:00am

QUEENSLAND'S biggest event remains in farcical limbo, with the Gold Coast SuperGP motor race looking increasingly likely to crash and burn.

A 24-hour state government-imposed deadline for information from organisers expired at 11am yesterday with no news on the fate of the event, into which taxpayers pump $11.6 million a year.

The A1GP cars, meant to be the international showpiece of the festival formerly known as Indy, remained locked up in a London freight warehouse amid deepening doubts over whether they will reach Australia in time for next week's race.

Fresh cash flow problems have stranded the cars despite financial assurances from A1GP boss Tony Teixeira, a South African oil, diamond and gold trader, as late as three days ago.

Local organisers went to ground yesterday as V8 Supercar officials revealed they had been approached by the State Government to put on extra races to fill the likely void on the Surfers Paradise starting grid.

A1GP officials refused to guarantee if or when the cars would arrive in time, and sources close to the event said it would be "a miracle" if they did. "Forget it. It ain't going to happen," one said.

At the central London office of A1GP yesterday, the doors were locked and mail could be seen stacked up on the reception desk.

Spokeswoman Ann Bradshaw, reached on her mobile phone, could shed no light on whether the A1GP's cars would reach the Gold Coast.

"I can't make any guarantees. I'd be lying if I said that they will definitely be there on Monday, or that they will be there on Tuesday. The guys are working on it," she said.

"Our freight company has the cars. They are ready to respond the moment they get the green light that the money's there."

A spokeswoman for Sports Minister Phil Reeves said the Government had tried unsuccessfully to get answers from London and would continue making phone calls today.

"They missed the 24-hour deadline, but there's still time for them to get here," she said.

"The contract stipulates that the cars have to competitively participate in the event, so if they were to turn up even as late as Wednesday, they would still not be in breach of the contract."

Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said Premier Anna Bligh should immediately divert from her overseas trip to London and "sort out the A1GP mess once and for all".

Acting Premier Andrew Fraser said the event would go ahead with or without the A1GP cars.

He said the State Government was looking at legal action against A1GP organisers for "tarnishing" the event's reputation.

Additional reporting by Sophie Elsworth and Mark Hinchliffe

 

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Latest Comments:

It's important to remember that this whole issue has only come about due to the liquidity of the A1GP series. This article clearly outlines the fact that there were financial guarantees from A1GP boss Tony Teixeira, right up until the last minute. Questioning the tireless commitment of local organisers or the QLD Government is ridiculous. The fact remains that Indy has been one of the most successful events in Australia's history, and would have continued to be so if not for the empty promises and lack of financial transparency of the A1GP. The majority of these comments are just another case of do-gooders looking to lay blame where it's not warranted.

Posted by: Chris of London 9:14pm October 17, 2009

In the frantic race to replace one second rate open wheel series with a series that was technically bunkrupt last year, this situation has all making of comic high farce. V8 Superbores as the main attraction, well it is time to face reality, and call time on the event as a whole. The money invested is not delivering the returns, and if we believe the rhetoric of that other salesman (We had to go to Abu Dahbi - otherwise our series would be broke) V8 Superbore Tony Cochrane, I envisage this time next year the same scenario occuring. This event will never attract anything other than an international B series, so forget F1, ALMS, or GP2, it is time to after 18 year to face reality and call time and utilise the savings say like services, or having the luxury not having to privatise state entities.

Posted by: RML of Wynnum 7:52pm October 17, 2009

I think we should all stop being so negative, its not Gold Coasts fault for the global recession, everyone is finding it hard including the very top classes of World Motorsport ie F1, WRC and now A1GP. The street race along with the indy cars created a glamourous spectacle, something that you just don't get from a purpose built track. People would travel from all over the world to see this famous street race....just like Melbourne's F1 GP which is also Amazing. As a kid I travelled 4 times to Surfers from NZ...to see the V8s, I never came to "Queensland Raceway" in Ipswhich as it was simply not the same atmosphere....Keep the street race, its apart of Gold Coast, like the street race and week long festival is for Monaco F1 GP. Maybe one day the F1 will come to Gold Coast..

Posted by: Tony McMahon of Sunshine Coast 11:23am October 17, 2009

Arrrr Queensland over governed and broke one day laughing stock the next.

Posted by: Ileen Wright of sMeRt stAtE 10:10am October 17, 2009

what a joke this is i knew on monday last week the a1 was not coming you just had to have a look down the main pit road where all the v8 drivers pits names where put up in the main pit area than the A1 the state goverment well they might as well not turn up either

Posted by: darren of brisbane 9:55am October 17, 2009

The Govt didn't do enough to save the Indy Car event going ahead on the Gold Coast. The Indy Cars are alive and well and going along as usual in their season. The A1GP was an alternative to F1 for those who wanted to race but could not afford it. The Govt should get back in bed with the Indy Series or else no event will take place on the Gold Coast again....Thankyou....Thankyou very much....Elvis has left the chatroom...

Posted by: Elvis of Las Vegas 9:26am October 17, 2009

You know if they used all the money they have pumped into the gold Coast wisley and built a proper stand alone race track it would buy now be turning a profit and be an asset for all Queensladers to use all year..

Posted by: kenn of kamira 9:09am October 17, 2009
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