Whale this year’s ROC, the REAL Race Of Champions… NOT to be cornfuzed with that dually departed abomination of Pontiacs goin’ round ‘N round in some Adult Spirits series… (IROC) Has just been completed, having taken place in Beijing, China on November 3-4.
And with this year’s event having been moved forward one month and clashing with something called The Chase, Team USA dug deep into its bag of available Personalities, settling upon a pair of largely unknown Rally and Drifting Champions… As with NO disrespect to either Travis Pastrana or Tanner Foust, I think Double Formula D (“DUH!”) Champion Foust was OUT of his league…
As this year’s entrants consisted of no less then several top caliber names like: Jenson Button, Mattias Ekstrom, Marcus Gronholm, Mik0 Hirvonen, Tom Kristensen, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, to name a few.
2009 ROC Preview
And this year’s event in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, site of the 2008 Summer Olympics, having moved from the previous two events at London’s Wembley Stadium in December also saw a change to the event’s format with Drivers and Nations now competing in Groups before progressing to the Semi-Finals.
The Nation’s Cup which began the two day event on Tuesday, saw a grouping of four and two groups of three compete against each other, with Team USA competing against France and Scandinavia. As Team USA made it into the round of four: China, Germany, Great Britain, and USA.
surprisingly Tanner Foust defeated the TERMINATOR (Schumacher) in round One before Michael’s teammate ‘ZEBB (Vettel) won the next round against Travis Pastrana in Rally Cars to see Vettel then defeat Foust in Heat 3 in ROC Buggies.
‘Zebb’s win enabled the Defending Nation’s Cup Champion (Team Germany) to advance to the Finals vs. Team Autosport GB, consisting of World Champion elect ‘JENSE (Button) and 3-time (WTCC) World Touring Car champion) Andy Priaulx, who’d defeated Team China. Team Germany then went onto defeat Team Autosport GB 2-1 and claimed its third Nation’s Cup title.
Team Germany wins Nation’s Cup
The following day (Wednesday) saw the similar first round groups format, where 2-time Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) Champion Mattias Ekstrom defeated all three first round competitors including Pastrana; while Foust lost to button in his first round grouping, as Ekstrom would cruise all the way thru to the Finals.
The other side of the ladder saw the TERMINATOR similarly working over his competition, starting off by defeating old F1 rival David Coulthard and also basically cruising thru his heats, as Schuey would face his protégé, the young Wunderkin Vettel in the Semi-Finals, but ‘ZEBB crashed and thus Schumacher would once again square off against Ekstrom in the Finals, of which the “Swede” (Mattias) easily won, by taking the first two of three heats.
"This is a very special day for me," the 31-year-old Swede smiled. "I was not particularly fortunate this year in the DTM. To end the season with a victory against Michael Schumacher is fantastic!"
Ekstrom is Champion of champions again