Malaysia loses a pioneer

SULTAN SALAHUDDIN ABDUL AZIZ SHAH of the Selangor province, the man who was largely responsible for getting international motor racing to the country, has died at the age of 75.

The Sultan, who was also serving a term as King of Malaysia (there are nine sultans who take turns to be king for a five-year period), ran Selangor for 40 years and made it one of the country's most dynamic regions. He was behind the construction in 1968 of the Batu Tiga racing circuit, which was overlooked by his palace. The name was later changed to Shah Alam and in the mid 1980s the track was upgraded to international level and was used in 1985 for a round of the World Sportscar Championship, which was won by the Rothmans Porsche of Jochen Mass and Jacky Ickx.

Although the sportscars did not return the track was used very successfully by motorcycle racing and it may have played a role in inspiring Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to fund the construction of the Sepang circuit.

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