Formula 1 fever grips Bahrain
Manama, March 10, 2008
The Kingdom of Bahrain is ablaze with 'Formula One' fever as the countdown to the biggest sporting and social occasion in the Middle East gets into top gear.
The 2008 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on April 4 to 6 will be a landmark occasion for the Kingdom, marking the fifth running of the event since it brought the world's biggest annual sporting series to the region.
'The run-up to the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is a special time for the Kingdom, as worldwide attention becomes focused on our race,' said Martin Whitaker, chief executive officer at the Bahrain International Circuit.
'This year is all the more special, the fifth time that Bahrain has welcomed the Formula One community to the Gulf in our role as the Home of Motorsport in the Middle East. We are dedicated to ensuring that last year's sell-out event is the platform for our best event yet.'
As it has for the past two years, the public build-up to the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix began early in the New Year with the Gulf-wide branding campaign which, in every country, looks forward to 'Our Race'. 90,000 people attended in 2007 and campaign reflects the growing importance of the Middle East in world motor sport.
In early February Bahrain staged six days of Formula One testing which were dominated by the reigning champions Kimi Räikkönen and Scuderia Ferrari. Since then the Yalla Bahrain! calendar of free-to-attend cultural and community events has been in full swing, supported for a second year by the Ithmaar banking group, celebrating Bahrain's role as the 'Home of Motorsport' in the Middle East.
Martin Whitaker, chief executive officer at the BIC, said: 'People have come to expect an unforgettable experience at the Grand Prix and really come away from the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix feeling that it is 'their race' whether they are from Bahrain, from within the GCC and even from Europe.
'We are very proud that there is so much more on offer for the fans each year in terms of entertainment, both on the racetrack and in the public areas, compared to many of the world's other major sporting events.'
Having achieved sell-out status in 2007, an entirely new grandstand is being built for this year's race directly opposite the pit lane exit, increasing capacity to 1600 seats. In addition new cost-effective accommodation packages for international travellers have been put in place to ease the burden on international visitors attending the 2008 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
'Last year we put together our first set of travel and accommodation packages which were extremely well-received,' said Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Chief Operating Officer at the BIC,' Whitaker added.
'In 2008 we have come together with Kanoo Holidays to create the best possible range of packages to welcome everyone to Bahrain.'
Prices for the 2008 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix all-inclusive packages start from BD186 ($494) per person for the four nights, inclusive of accommodation and a three-day ticket for the Turn 1 Grandstand with option to change this for a different vantage point for a supplementary charge.
Additionally international flights and transfers to and from the circuit can be included at extra cost, he noted.-TradeArabia News Service