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NOVEMBER 6, 2006

Meanwhile in Australia

There are still five months to go before the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne but already there is action as Adelaide has started an advertising campaign in the state of Victoria hoping to get race fans in Melbourne to go to the annual Clipsal 500, the opening round of the V8 Supercar Series, on the streets of the city on the first weekend of March next year, rather than going to Albert Park to watch the Grand Prix on March 18. The V8 Supercars are usually the major support event for the Grand Prix but because of this year's date change, they are missing the event in order to have everything ready in Perth - 2200 miles away - for the second round of the series on March 25. It does not help matters that there is now also a clash of TV stations with Network 10 covering F1 and Channel Seven having the rights to the V8s.

Australian GP chairman Ron Walker has boldly said the V8s will not be missed at Albert Park and that crowds which were hit this year by the Commonwealth Games will return to normal. The plan at the moment is for the F1 race to be supported by the Porsche Supercup but these are not nearly as spectacular as the V8s and, more importantly, are not going to be driven by the local heroes.

It will be interesting to see how the numbers do, but it is fairly safe bet that Walker and the V8 Supercar folks will eventually work out that they do need each other in 2008.