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Marussia noting increased Russian interest

ESPN Staff
September 30, 2013 « Lotus expecting 'tight scrap' with Ferrari and Mercedes | Vergne eyes Toro Rosso revival »
Rodolfo Gonzalez demonstrated a Marussia around the Sochi Olympic Park © Marussia

Marussia CEO Andy Webb says he's noticed a "fantastic" level of interest in Formula One in Russia ahead of next year's inaugural race.

Marussia was present in Sochi on Friday to take part in demonstration runs on part of the circuit which will be used for next year's grand prix, with reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez at the wheel. On the team's fourth visit to Russia, Webb said he could see just how excited about a race the country was becoming.

"Every time we return to Russia we are thrilled to see just how much the fans here are embracing Formula One ahead of next year's inaugural Grand Prix of Russia," Webb said. "The level of knowledge and interest is fantastic and this makes us especially proud to be the only Russian-owned team participating in the sport.

"We've visited Sochi and Moscow on several occasions now and this is our way of showing that Russia is truly at the heart of our team culture. We don't just want to carry the name; we want to fly the flag - at home here in Sochi and at around 20 other international Formula One destinations that we travel to every season.

Webb was also pleased with the performance of Gonzalez in entertaining the crowds in Sochi.

"Our reserve driver Rodolfo did a fantastic job for the team during the demonstration runs on Friday evening. He was the loudest and fastest on the track by some margin, with the whole event set against the stunning backdrop of the Olympic Bolshoi Ice Dome and the Olympic Park positively glowing in the late afternoon sunshine.

"From what we have seen here this weekend, Sochi will be staging an event it can truly be proud of and we look forward to playing our part in that, and hopefully achieving success on the race track."