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Malaysians hopeful

THE economic disasters which have affected the Far East will not disrupt plans to hold a Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999 - at least not if the Malaysians can help it. While other major development programs have been delayed or canceled in recent months, because of the collapse of the ringgit and share prices on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, the plans to build a Grand Prix circuit next to the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport have not been affected. According to Malaysian sources this is because the airport is now nearing completion and work is advancing on the $75m race track. The Malaysians hope that the circuit will be able to host its first race at the end of next year. The authorities hope that the event will help to restore some of the confidence in Malaysia which has been lost in the recent slump.

Malaysia, it should be remembered, is also investing heavily in the Sauber Petronas V10 engine project. Despite rumors to the contrary this Petronas project has not been affected by the economic turmoil because the Malaysian oil and gas company does most of its dealings in US dollars rather than in ringgit.

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