Jun.13 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Valencia has sold less than 40,000 tickets ahead of next weekend’s European grand prix.

El Pais newspaper reports that, of the street circuit’s deliberately reduced capacity of 45,000 seats, only 85 per cent have been sold.

And of the 38,000 tickets sold, 64 per cent of them were purchased by foreign visitors, the Spanish publication added.

Spain has been devastated by the European financial crisis, with unemployment at almost 25 per cent and the European Union needing to inject $125 billion to rescue crippled banks.

It is expected that next Sunday’s Valencia race will be the last in the port city until 2014, with an alternating scheme with Barcelona set to be formalised soon.

Valencia’s sports and tourism minister Lola Johnson, however, insisted on Tuesday that the “grand prix is an opportunity because it adds value to Spain at a particularly difficult time for the country”.

The event “ensures the continued promotion of Valencia and helps sustain the growth of a strategic sector such as tourism”, she added.

She confirmed that the 64 per cent of foreign spectators next weekend hail primarily from the UK, Germany, Italy, France, the US, Finland, Norway and Switzerland.