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FIA approve South Korea GP

SEOUL, October 12- Motor racing's world governing body gave the go-ahead Tuesday for South Korea's first Formula One Grand Prix, organisers said, after doubts over the readiness of the circuit.The track passed a final inspection by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) said in a statement.

It earned a top grade at the inspection led by FIA technical director Charlie Whiting on Monday, KAVO said.

Whiting expressed satisfaction over the 5.6-kilometre (3.5-mile) track, which boasts Asia’s longest straight stretch, it said, adding the FIA would issue a licence to hold the event as scheduled.

The inspection had focused on the safety and appropriateness of the track as other facilities such as mobile stands, parking lots and a pedestrian overpass were not ready.

The green light came less than two weeks before the race is scheduled to get under way at Yeongam, 320 kilometres (200 miles) south of Seoul.

The circuit has been constructed on reclaimed land by KAVO, a joint venture between a private firm and the provincial government.

Doubts had been raised whether the new circuit would be completed ahead of the race on October 24.

But F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told Britain’s Daily Express newspaper Saturday that the inaugural Korean Grand Prix would go ahead as planned.

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"We are very happy about the outcome of the inspection," KAVO spokesman Kim Jae-Ho told AFP.

"The track is South Korea’s first one which has earned a top grade" from the world body, he said. "We will do our best to host an excellent race."

The Korean Grand Prix will be the 17th event of this year’s 19-race season. Races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi will complete the season after the maiden Grand Prix in South Korea.

KAVO will host the race for seven years with an option to extend for five years.

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