Sunday, August 21, 2005

Turkey hails Grand Prix, traffic jams sour mood

ISTANBUL, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Turkey hailed its inaugural Grand Prix a great success on Sunday but huge traffic jams left thousands of spectators fuming in their cars for hours during their day out in Istanbul.

Mindful of recent bomb attacks, race organisers had doubled security measures for the race and ringed the $70 million Istanbul Park circuit with about 2,000 paramilitary police. To their relief the day passed off peacefully.

Around 90,000 people attended race day, bringing the number of spectators over the three days to 183,000 for what Turkish officials have trumpeted as a huge boost to the country's already buoyant tourism sector.

Late spectators abandoned their cars by the roadside and sprinted to the track to avoid missing the race. Many of them said they spent four hours in traffic and one media report said the traffic jam stretched as far as 15 km.

Torrential rain compounded the difficulties and irate drivers argued with the paramilitary police and among themselves.

Read the rest of the article on Reuters

See also: Turkey bridges the great divide (Telegraph)

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