No concerns over circuit for Russian GP

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The track designer for the Russian Grand Prix, Hermann Tilke, is certain that the circuit will be ready in time amid concerns about the future of the race.

It was revealed last week that the backers of the race in Sochi had missed the application deadline for the race, throwing the inaugural event, planned for next fall, into doubt. However, Tilke has no concerns about meeting his own responsibility and ensuring the circuit is ready.

“I’m 100 percent sure that the track will be ready,” Tilke explained to Russian publication Championat. “Everything in my area of responsibility will be fulfilled. The track will be constructed on time. Everything will be okay.”

Tilke was unable to speak on behalf of the race promoters and confirm that the race would go ahead, citing that this was outside of his area of control as his team focuses on building the circuit.

“I do not know much about this. We are engaged in the construction of the track. I am not familiar with the situation in detail.”

Despite missing the application deadline, the promoters of the race did confirm that there was a loophole that could see the race still go ahead for 2014. It would mark the first grand prix in Russia – one of the fastest-growing markets in the world – with the circuit in Sochi set to be built as part of the complex for the Winter Olympics.

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.