CLT20 between GP & stars



Greater Noida: The inaugural Indian Grand Prix last year saw a galaxy of stars at the Buddh International Circuit to watch world’s top Formula One drivers in action. This time, if the organisers are to be believed, the show will get bigger.

“We have decided to accord a pride of place for the top Indian sportspersons during the Grand Prix,” said Askari Zaidi, the vice-president of corporate communication of the Jaypee Group, the organisers of the event. “Apart from the cricketers, film stars and political leaders, we have extended our invitation to all the Indian medal winners from the London Olympics.

“Their presence during the race would definitely add glitter to the great event… We sincerely hope all of them would come for the Grand Prix,” said Zaidi.

Last year, several top cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh watched the event. The number could be bigger this time, as the entire Indian cricket team, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have been invited for the three-day event between October 26 and 28.

But there’s a problem in that possibility. The Champions League T20 final is scheduled to be held on October 28, the race day of the Indian GP. With four Indian teams — Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and the Delhi DareDevils — being in the fray, the stars will have to give the Grand Prix a miss if their team enter the final.

With just over a couple of weeks to go for the event, efforts are on to smoothen whatever creases are there. In the inaugural meet, the organisers faced criticism because of too much of dust on the track. Also, the sudden entry of a stray dog during the race had left the organisers red-faced. But on Thursday, assurances were given that there would be no repeat of such things.

“Dust is unavoidable on any new track… So it happened with us, too,” said one of the officials. “We have now rented two sweeping machines from Bahrain, specially made for cleaning race tracks. Both the machines are expected to arrive in the next few days,” he said.

A few changes have also been made to the circuit in accordance with the FIA guidelines to make the racing even more competitive.

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