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2014 F1

Sochi track hosts first race ahead of Formula 1 debut

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Russia’s preparations for its first Formula One race have taken a major step today with the newly constructed Sochi racetrack hosting its inaugural race.

The track, which snakes around the indoor venues used for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, has hosted the seventh round of the Russian Touring Car Championship.

Spectators were barred from entering the venue for what organisers of next month’s Formula One race used as a test event.

“The planning phase is completed, the opening and closing script are ready,” Sergey Vorobyov, one of the race organisers, told Interfax.

“The track is ready – the feedback of drivers is only positive.

“The track is interesting and works under any weather conditions.”

Despite continued controversy over the decision to press on with the race on Russian soil, after the political fallout from the country’s annexation of Crimea earlier this year, the Sochi Autodrom is scheduled to host round 16 of the 19 race Championship.

The 5.853 kilometre, 18 corner track with capacity for 55,000 spectators, will stage its race on October 12, with qualifying the previous day.

Last month, FIA race director Charlie Whiting gave the track the thumbs-up after an inspection.

Reigning Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel was the first driver to lap the track last month, describing it as an “interesting layout with a good mix of high speed corners and technical sections”.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany currently leads the drivers’ Championship by 22 points from British team mate Lewis Hamilton. (Insidethegames)

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