Sidorkova to miss W Series Austin finale after US visa denied

Russian W Series driver Irina Sidorkova will miss the final two races in Austin this weekend after she was denied a US visa.

The 18-year-old was set to compete in the season finale double header at the Circuit of the Americas, but said on Wednesday she had been unable to obtain a visa despite her National Interests Exemption as a professional athlete.

She currently sits in seventh in the drivers standings with 34 points, but will lose places as a result of missing the last two races.

However, she is guaranteed a seat for 2022 as a member of the W Series Academy alongside Nerea Marti, who is fourth in the drivers’ standings.

Her replacement is Australian reserve driver Caitlin Wood, who will make her third outing this year after competing at the Hungaroring and Spa.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Sidorkova wrote: “I was denied a visa to the United States, although I have a status of a National Interests Exemption as a professional athlete.

"First I was refused by US embassy at an interview, and later nothing worked out when W Series, F1 and Congressman McCaul's Office from Texas till yesterday tried to make it work somehow. I appreciate this help a lot and I'm very thankful for that.

“This happens the first time in my life and race career. I am deprived of racing and opportunity to fight for the good points and the prize that I planned to invest in my training.

"I just want to say that I'm proud to be a [Russian] racing driver and I will continue racing whatever it takes.”

She had previously written about her visa issues, having travelled to Oman for an interview at the US Embassy in Muscat earlier this month, which was then cancelled after a tropical storm hit the region.

Sidorkova previously held a three-year visa for the USA, which expired in 2019, and had applied for interviews at embassies in Russia, the Netherlands, Poland, and the UK before flying to Muscat.

 
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