• Kyodo

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The fourth round of the 2003 Japan GT Championship that was to be held in Malaysia on June 20-21 has been canceled due to the SARS outbreak, the local organizer said Wednesday.

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) Sdn. Bhd., the racetrack manager, said in a statement it was informed by the Japan GT Association that the race has been canceled “in view of the current outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the region. It is unfortunate that we are unable to hold the Japan GT race this year. Like thousands of racing fans in Malaysia as well as in the neighboring countries, we were looking forward to the event,” SIC General Manager Ahmad Mustafa said.

SIC had already begun selling tickets for the race. Ahmad said those who have bought the tickets would get refunds.

The Japan GT Championship first came to Malaysia in 2000 as a promotional race. It drew more than 22,000 spectators then, and the audience for the annual event has kept growing. In 2002, the Malaysian race became part of the championship, the first outside Japan. Ahmad said the race would be held next year.

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