The largest-ever auction of modern F1 cars and memorabilia came to a highly successful conclusion on Saturday with Minardi Team Principal Paul Stoddart, and auctioneers Bache Treharne, pronouncing themselves extremely pleased with the overall result of the sale.

Aside from the thousands of potential purchasers of F1 merchandise who visited the Ledbury auction site, many thousands more joined the four-day auction in virtual form, bidding on-line from a total of over 30 countries for the more than 6,000 lots that were on offer. Incredibly, bids ranged from $8 (around ?4.30) for a team t-shirt, to over $180,000 (nearly ?97,000) for a 1997 Tyrrell 025 Formula One car in running order.

Adding a further touch of excitement to the proceedings, Minardi Formula One drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Nicolas Kiesa attended the auction, chatting with bidders and signing autographs. The drivers also assisted with a special daily auction benefiting the BBC Children in Need appeal and the Diana Princess of Wales National Air Ambulance Paediatric Unit. Each of the successful bidders, who collectively contributed $70,000 (just under ?38,000) to the nominated charities, will receive the thrill of a lifetime in a Minardi two-seater F1 car either next week in Italy, at the Autodromo Santamonica near Misano, or at one of the team's 2005 events.

At the conclusion of the event today, Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, expressed his thanks to all involved.

"I'd like to thank Bache Treharne, as well as all our staff, for their fantastic efforts and for the weeks of support that led to thousands of items representing modern F1 history going to good homes in the course of what has been a truly international event," he said. "I'd also like to thank Zsolt and Nicolas, who gave freely of their time to attend the event and to assist with the auction of the Minardi two-seater rides, the proceeds of which will benefit two very worthwhile causes. In addition, Nicolas was kind enough to provide Danish translation services on the internet!"

Bache Treharne Chief Auctioneer, Chris Hall, who sold the first lot on Wednesday morning and brought the bidding to a conclusion on Saturday afternoon, was pleased to see the event pass successfully.

"With goods sold to customers as far away as Brazil, Australia, the United States, Japan, South Africa, and most western European countries, there is no doubt this has been both a successful and enjoyable event," he said. "Everyone at Bache Treharne is very proud to have been involved in what has been undoubtedly the biggest F1 auction ever."



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