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MAY 7, 2001

Welkom aims for IRL race

SOUTH AFRICA may not be able to afford a Grand Prix but Bobby Hartsleif, the chief executive of the Welkom Super Speedway at Phakisa is currently in the United States finalizing a deal to get the Indy Racing League teams to visit the facility for a non-championship race in November. The circuit has been hosting a World Motorcycle Championship meeting for the last two years but has so far failed to get a big car race. Hartslief is hoping to convince IRL to include the facility in its championship calendar in 2002.

Hartslief says that South Africa has long enjoyed "a love affair" with Formula 1 but the $15m cost of hosting a race is beyond South Africa - unless there is a government subsidy.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation says it will not be renewing its TV contract with Formula 1 next year because the price has risen too much and Hartslief says he hopes he can do a deal for IRL.