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The road to Marrakesh

THE tobacco battles in Europe may lead Formula 1 to new pastures in the years ahead in addition to races in Asia and the United States. We hear that there are currently studies going on for a race to take place in Morocco, perhaps by as early╩as 1999.

Our spies tell us that representatives of Grand Prix racing boss Bernie Ecclestone have spent the recent months visiting a variety of cities in the country looking at the facilities and talking to the local government about the possibility of holding a race.

We understand that Rabat and Casablanca have both been investigated but that the city of Marrakesh is the favorite to hold a race. It has all the necessary infrastructure for such an event - notably the hotels - and is looking for international events to promote tourism. The weather in the country is good and there are no problems with the timezones as Morocco is due south of Spain and Portugal.

Motor racing would not be new to Morocco. There was a Moroccan Grand Prix for sportscars in Casablanca as long ago as 1925 although in 1930 the event was switched to a new circuit at Anfa. In the post-war era Ain Diab hosted a Formula 1 race on a regular basis with Jean Behra, Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham being amongst the winners. During the 1950s there were also regular sportscar races at Agadir and Tangiers.

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