After Grand Prix Masters' inaugural event at Kyalami in November last year, series founder Scott Poulter looked as though he had won the world's largest-ever jackpot with a 5p piece. The former world-class wind surfer had pulled together some of the sport's greatest exponents, and packaged a seriously successful race which played to a capacity crowd (70,000 on race day) and reached 80 million households. In fact, 'successful' was way too small a word for the Altech Grand Masters of South Africa, as the event was dubbed.
Last weekend's Qtel Grand Prix Masters of Qatar was a complete contrast - where Kyalami's race was held on a historic, undulating circuit situated at 6,000 feet and played to a heaving, partying full-house crowd, just a handful of restrained spectators attended the second race, held as the sea-level track's first-ever four-wheeled competition - yet Poulter had every reason to be as pleased in the sandy Middle East as he had been in tropical Africa.
True, there had been glitches, such as 40% of the 24-lap race being run behind a safety car and Riccardo Patrese's car stalling on the grid, and then needing to be pushed to the pits for restarting. But, to the entrepreneurial Poulter, the former was extremely encouraging, having been mainly instigated by the very ingredient many feared would not be present: wheel-to-wheel racing.