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SOCHI, October 10. /TASS/. Russia’s Black Sea resort city Sochi livened up once again after hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games earlier in the year as world’s fastest drivers arrived here for one of the racing stages of famed Formula One competitions and tried the newly-built circuit on Friday.
Although cargo planes with F1 teams’ racing gear and equipment began landing in Sochi on Monday after the previous Formula One GP in Japan’s Suzuka, held on October 3-5, and all racers arrived by Wednesday, the Russian coastal city was relatively quiet until Friday.
The new track in Russia’s Sochi is the third longest in distance this year after Belgium’s Spa GP and Britain’s Silverstone GP and was first tested by F1 racers on Friday morning during the practice session, which kicked off at 10:00am local time (6:00am GMT).
However, all visiting F1 guests staying at hotels were awake much earlier before the first practice session as the whizzing sounds of ignited bolides’ engines ripped through the air within a five-kilometer surrounding distance.
“It was astounding to watch small vehicles zipping pass by me at such speed,” Igor, who came from Russia’s southern city of Stavropol, told TASS. “The noise of engines was not disturbing at all.”
“This is something completely different to watch F1 racing in reality comparing with TV broadcasts,” Igor said.
Russia’s first ever F1 GP also proved its popularity on Thursday afternoon opening doors for ticketed visitors to the pit-lane and teams’ boxes to display racing bolides and give an opportunity to take autographs from pilots.
According to the statistics from the racing event organizers, Sochi AutoDrom, some 20,000 people visited the pit area on Thursday starting from 3:00am local time and until late night.
“I had to wait in line for three hours to get to see my favorite racers,” Giorgio, who came from the northern Italian city of Malcesine, said. “I am happy to be here, and Sochi is a blast.”
A total of some 50,000 tickets available were sold out for the Russian F1 event in Sochi with 5,000 tickets out of the mentioned-above figure purchased by foreign guests.
The Russian Grand Prix is held at the racing track located near the Olympic Village in the coastal area of Sochi. The contract to include Russia in the calendar of F1 racing for the 2014-2020 period was signed in 2010 in Sochi by then-Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin and F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.