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SOCHI, October 10. /TASS/. As Russia’s first ever Formula One racing Grand Prix in Sochi officially started on Friday morning with practice sessions, people desperate to get tickets for the event were still standing at the main tickets office looking for the so-called ‘spare tickets'.
According to the statistics from the racing event organizers, Sochi AutoDrom, 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.
Sergey Vorobyov, the head of the Russian F1 racing promotion company Sochi AutoDrom, said on late Thursday afternoon that only some 2,000 tickets were left for sale, but apparently they were not available on Friday afternoon as people were wondering about spare or returned tickets.
“We now have ten percent of international guests. And I am sure that in the coming years this share will increase,” Vorobyov said.
Richard Cregan, one of the most experienced Formula One managers and a consultant of Russia Grand Prix, said that Russia was still a relatively unknown place for the racing sports but he was sure that in the coming years the volume of foreigners coming to see races would increase after this F1 weekend in Russia’s Sochi.
“If we look at all the races around, in particular in Abu Dhabi - that was where it was raised from the beginning of 10% up to almost 45% in the five-year program,” Cregan said commenting on foreign spectators’ share of 10% in overall tickets sold for Sochi GP.
The experienced F1 manager, who was behind the construction of the track for the Abu Dhabi GP in the United Arab Emirates with racing launched there in 2007, said he was pleasantly surprised with what he saw in Sochi.
Russia’s inaugural F1 GP already proved its popularity on Thursday afternoon after it had opened doors for ticketed visitors to the pit-lane and teams’ boxes in a bid to display racing bolides and give the visitors an opportunity to take autographs from pilots.
According to Sochi AutoDrom, some 20,000 people visited the pit area on Thursday starting from 3:00 a.m. 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.”
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.
All visiting F1 guests staying at hotels near the Russian new racing track were awake much earlier before the first practice session at 10:00 a.m. local time as the whizzing sounds of ignited bolides’ engines ripped through the air within at least two-kilometer surrounding distance.