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Sauber launch Bahrain Grand Prix build-up 20 Feb 2004

Sauber Petronas test driver Neel Jani (SUI)launched the build-up to April's inaugural Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. The 20 year-old Swiss reached speeds of just under 300 kph in his Sauber Petronas C22 Formula One car as he easily broke the speed limit on King Faisal Highway in front of a mesmerised crowd of 20,000 fans. This was the first F1 car demonstration in the Middle East. Sauber Visit Bahrain, Bahrain, 19 February 2004.

Sauber tester Neel Jani began the countdown to April's inaugural Grand Prix of Bahrain on Thursday. The Swiss driver easily broke the speed limit on the King Faisal Highway as he reached speeds of just under 300 kph in front of thousands of enthusiastic spectators.

Jani's high-speed run in last year's C22 car was the highlight of an action-packed day in the heart of Bahrain's capital city, Manama. Around 20,000 fans turned out to experience the first live running of a Formula One car in the Middle East.

"I'm very proud that I was the very first to drive a Formula One car in the Middle East and to show to the enthusiastic citizens what Formula One is all about," said Jani after his demonstration runs. "It's also the first time that I have 'legally' jumped a red light! Seriously though, I really enjoyed the opportunity to give the people of Bahrain a feeling of the passion, speed and sound that exist within this sport. I also had the chance to visit the Bahrain International Circuit and I'm very impressed by this ultra-modern facility. The race will certainly be a big challenge and I can't wait to see it."

"Formula One has a massive following and this year Bahrain will become a member of an extremely exclusive club by hosting the third round of the 18 race FIA Formula One World Championship. Those attending the race in April will experience the thrilling atmosphere of the World Championship at close quarters," added the Chairman of Bahrain International Circuit, Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.

The 2004 Grand Prix of Bahrain will take place on April 4.