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Chaos as vehicular traffic intrudes Formula E race track in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Feb 10 (IANS) A day before ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race here, chaos broke out after vehicular traffic entered the race area of the street circuit on Friday.

The security breach and pandemonium shocked the organisers and delayed the first practice session in the evening.

With heavy traffic jams on roads due to restrictions on the movement of vehicles around the track in the heart of the city, some civilian vehicles entered the race area after some barricades were removed.

The entry of two-wheelers and four-wheelers stunned the drivers of participating teams preparing for practice session. As no race car was on the track, a major incident was averted.

Authorities swung into action to stop vehicular traffic and re-barricade the street circuit.

The security breach and chaos delayed the practice session by an hour. It was immediately not clear who removed the barricade.

For the last few days, the roads leading to the racing track have been chock-a-block due to diversion of traffic at several points. Motorists were fuming at the restrictions, which had led to long traffic snarls and this had even led to an altercation between the public and the police.

Taking a serious note of the security breach, the police have ordered an inquiry. They were trying to identify the persons who removed the barricade.

Officials of Federation of International de I’Automobile (FIA) were reportedly unhappy over the incident and asked the local authorities to set right things before the race scheduled on Saturday.

Hyderabad is the first Indian city to host the prestigious race. The 2.8-km track, featuring a total of 18 turns, has been laid alongside Hussain Sagar Lake, using the existing roads for vehicular traffic. This necessitated traffic diversions in the core area of the city, leading to massive traffic jams on all adjoining thoroughfares.

A total of 11 teams and 22 drivers will be participating in the race. All cars are electric and powered by a 250kW battery. They can reach speeds of up to 280km/h.

For the first time, the Formula E grid will see participation by McLaren and Maserati who will compete with Porsche, Jaguar, Nissan, Mahindra and others.

Meanwhile, Tag Heuer Porsche driver, Pascal Wehrlein, suffered a crash in the free practice 1 on Friday. The German racer escaped unhurt in the crash.

The main race will be held Saturday afternoon post free practice 2 and qualifying race in the morning session.

The driver lost control of the car on turn 18 and crashed into the wall. Front and rear of the car was damaged.

According to organisers, the venue will have a grandstand capacity of around 20,000 spectators.