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Economic gloom in Europe to cost Buddh circuit GT1 race?


A little over a week after Indian racer Armaan Ebrahim signed a contract to race in the final three races of the FIA GT1 World Championship, it has emerged that his hopes of racing in front of home fans won't come to fruition after the promoters of the event cancelled the season finale, which was slated to be held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida in the first weekend of December.


It has been reliably learnt from sources that Stephane Ratel, CEO of the series promoter SRO, has written to the international automobile federation FIA asking to scrap the event.


The promoters have been feeling the pinch owing to gloomy economic conditions in Europe, and a couple of months ago announced that they would be terminating their association with the series, which was the first officially recognised sports car world championship since the demise of the World Sportscar Championship in 1992, at the conclusion of this season.


Troubling signs

The mostly Europe-based championship had earlier cancelled two rounds in China, at the Beijing Goldenport circuit in August and Ordos in September, leaving the proposed 10 round calendar down to eight events.


The series, which began in 2010 with a 22-car grid dwindled to 18 entrants in 2011.


This fell further this season with as little as 14 cars turning up for some races.


Under the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, an official from Jaypee Sports, owners of the BIC, told HT why the scheduled race fell apart.


"We knew that things weren't well with SRO. They had revised the 2012 season calendar at least half a dozen times and scrapped events in China and North Korea. The worsening economic condition in Europe has been one of the primary reasons for this. Add to this the fact that SRO, as part of their agreement, provided free transport of the cars and equipment as well as air tickets for team officials. All these elements made it financially difficult to organise races outside Europe."


Jaypee Sports vice-president of corporate communications, Askari Zaidi, however, said that while they had heard rumors of the race being cancelled they are yet to get an official notification from the FIA.


"We can't comment on rumors. What we can say is that we are yet to get any official statement from the FIA informing us that the event has been scrapped," said Zaidi.


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