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Australian GP to open 2007 season, say organisers

Written by: Staff
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MELBOURNE, Apr 2 (Reuters) The Australian Grand Prix will resume its place as the first event of the Formula One calendar in 2007, organisers said today.

''It will revert to the first race in the future,'' Victoria state Premier Steve Bracks told reporters at the Albert Park circuit.

The race moved from its traditional place as season-opener to third this year to accommodate the Commonwealth Games that were held in Melbourne from March 15-26. The first two races were staged in Bahrain and Malaysia.

Bracks said Melbourne's right to stage the first race of the year had been 'embedded' in the circuit's contract with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.

''I was there with (race organiser) Ron Walker when the contract was renegotiated for 2010 with an option for a further five years after that and one of the conditions was that it was the first race on the F1 calendar of the year.'' Walker said the event attracted a total of 301,800 spectators over its four days, including 103,000 for todsay's race, down from 118,200 last year.

REUTERS PDS KP1520

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