The Brazilian round of the MotoGP World Championship could be cancelled, following revelations that the Jacarepagua circuit that hosts the Rio Grand Prix could be redeveloped ahead of the 2007 Pan-American Games.

According to a report published in the national O Globo newspaper, Jacarepagua could be rendered unsuitable for international events - at the very least - by earthworks needed to satisfy proposals to add various other sports facilities on the site ahead of the multi-discipline event in four year's time.

Only recently, the Rio city government approved the construction of a sports complex within the boundaries of the famous circuit - which bears the name of triple F1 world champion Nelson Piquet, and had also played host to the CART series in past seasons. A velodrome, multi-sports arena for bullfighting, swimming pools and athletics stadium are all among the plans for the development.

Speaking to the newspaper, engineer Lincoln Mendes confirmed that the work would seriously compromise the circuit's safety provisions, both for racing and testing.

"Construction could finish the race track," he said, "It will not have enough run-off area, so how can an international grand prix be safely conducted there? Imagine a rider coming off on a corner and hitting a guard-rail only three metres from the track!"

The track has been closed since 14 January, under the jurisdiction of resolution 198/2003 passed by the city's department of sports and leisure. It also remains in danger because it no longer operates under a conservation order, after the existing cover was allowed to expire. However, it does have its supporters, with the Brazilian Automobile Confederation [CBA] looking for legal breaches on which to prevent the work from taking place.

It also insists that, according to provisions in the circuit's current contract, land would have to be set aside for a replacement track should anything happen to remove the viability of Jacarepagua. If this is not forthcoming, the current venue cannot be used for any other purpose, president Pablo Scaglione told O Globo.



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