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Stoddart and BMW thrill bushfire town

NEWS STORY
24/03/2009

Ahead of this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart and the BMW F1 Team laid on a special treat for people in a town left devastated by the recent bushfire.

Stoddart took one of his famous two-seaters to the town of Kinglake where two youngsters, Ten-year-old Kobi Davis and 13-year-old Aidan Buchanan, were given the ride of a lifetime by Hungarian racer Zsolt Baumgartner. After which, Christian Klien thrilled the crowds as he took to the streets of the township in a BMW F1 car.

The visit was welcome relief for a town blighted by the recent fires and particularly for the two boys, both of whom lost their houses in the fire. Indeed, Aidan lost a brother and sister in the disaster.

"A lot of people are down and confused, so it's great for the town," Kinglake resident Donna Wilson told ABC, while Christine Nixon, head of the Bushfire Reconstruction Authority, said "It's positive for the community, and gives people an opportunity to come together and it's a bit of fun for the kids.

"It's a way of reinvigorating the community," she added. "It's a special thing for this community and they are special. They've suffered a lot, they've lost a lot and I think this is just a nice way for the Grand Prix people to say we're here with you and I support that."

Meanwhile on Sunday, in tribute to the men and women who fought the recent fires, in which friends, family and colleagues perished, the F1 drivers will make their traditional early morning parade on the back of CFA fire trucks.

Many of the fire-fighters and other emergency workers will be on duty at the Grand Prix as marshals this weekend.

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