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Mexico expects another Grand Prix bonanza

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Mexico City, Oct 28 (IANS) The Mexican Formula One Grand Prix looks likely to match if not exceed the 2015 event in economic benefits, the Central American nation's tourism secretary has said.

"I am satisfied if it's as successful as last year, because there were 336,174 fans last year," including 134,850 on race day, minister Enrique de la Madrid said during a press conference on Thursday with Alejandro Soberon, head of race organising group CIE.

The three-day event begins with a free practice on Friday, followed by qualifying runs and then the actual competition on Sunday.

The 2015 Mexican Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez track was the most successful event of the Formula One season and boosted occupancy rates at capital-area hotels to nearly 100 percent, Soberon claimed.

The 2016 edition is expected to attract some 62,000 international visitors, De la Madrid said.

"The year 2015 was an extraordinary year for Formula One in Mexico and for 2016, all the tickets are sold," Soberon said on Thursday.

"We expect (financial) results similar to those of last year. There is a 25 percent increase in requests for press accreditation."

Turning to the race competition, Soberon highlighted the performance this season of seventh-ranked Mexican driver Sergio "Checo" Perez, who has lifted his Force India team into a battle with Williams for the fourth place in the team championship.

Team Mercedes AMG Petronas clinched the 2016 team title earlier this month when the team's star drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, finished first and third, respectively, in the Japanese Grand Prix.

--IANS

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