The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, host of the MotoGP Argentina Grand Prix, has suffered a huge fire which has destroyed most of the paddock and pit area.
The fire started at around 11pm on Friday night with firefighters from Termas de Rio Hondo tackling the blaze along with help from other fire and rescue services from nearby towns and regions.
The cause of the fire is still unknown but it is thought to have devastated the majority of the pits, the press room and the VIP areas but fortunately it has not caused any injuries.
MotoGP had been due to visit the circuit later in the year after its initial scheduled date was postponed to the end of the season after both the Argentine and US GPs were delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Both races currently have no new provisional dates.
While the full extent of the fire damage remains to be assessed, it duly plunges the MotoGP race into even deeper doubt for this year.
“80% of the built-up part of the route has been lost, consumed by fire,” a firefighter told La Nación, who also said the fire could be seen from a long distance away from the circuit.
With the pit area and the upper floors above it, where the press room and VIP areas are located, badly damaged by the flames, firefighters plan to try to prevent the fire from spreading to the circuit’s museum area. Several of the most valuable items in the track museum have already been moved as a precaution while further safety measures have also been taken to protect the rest of the circuit.
“We are working to save the museum, the rest was burned, everything was consumed, it makes you want to cry,” added another firefighter to the Argentine newspaper.
Termas de Rio Hondo has hosted the Argentina MotoGP event since 2014, albeit with the 2020 race cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The circuit, built in 2007 and redeveloped in 2012, has also hosted the World Touring Car Championship, with the most recent event taking place in 2016.
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