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Race of Champions

The Race of Champions (ROC) is an international motorsport event held at the end/start of each year, featuring some of the world's best racing and rally drivers. It is the only competition in the world where stars from Formula One, World Rally Championship, IndyCar, NASCAR, sportscars and touring cars compete against each other, going head-to-head in identical cars.

Race of Champions
Race-of-Champions-logo.jpg
CategoryRacing and Rally
CountryInternational
Inaugural season1988
Drivers20 (2019)
Teams10 (2019)
Drivers' championMexico Benito Guerra
Teams' championSwedenDenmark Nordic
Official websiteraceofchampions.com
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

The race was first organised in 1988 by former rally driver Michèle Mouton and Fredrik Johnsson, IMP (International Media Productions) President. Originally the event was a competition between the world's best rally drivers, but has since expanded to include top competitors from most of the world's premier motorsport disciplines, including motorcycle racing.

The top individual overall in The Race Of Champions is given the title "Champion of Champions", and receives the Henri Toivonen Memorial trophy. The ROC Nations' Cup was added in 1999 and now features teams of two drivers who compete for their country.

The event has taken place in several venues, including 12 years on Gran Canaria from 1992 to 2003. More recently, the event has been held in major sporting stadia, including the Stade de France in Paris, Wembley Stadium in London, the Beijing National Stadium, Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena and the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok. In 2014, the event was held at the Bushy Park circuit in Barbados. The 2015 event took place in November at the 2012 Olympic Stadium in London. The 2017 ROC took place in January at Marlins Park in Miami. The 2018 event took place at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 2019 event was held in January at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico.

OverviewEdit

 
Marcus Grönholm and Henning Solberg driving Ford Focus RS WRC 07 cars at the 2007 Nations' Cup.

In the Race of Champions, the individual drivers compete head-to-head in one race around the track. The drivers are gradually eliminated using a round-robin format, with the best eight entering a knockout tournament. Prior to the Race of Champions, eight teams of two drivers compete in the ROC Nations' Cup using a similar format.

 
Sebastian Vettel driving the ROC buggy.

In both the ROC Nations' Cup and the Race of Champions, the final consists of three runs, with the team or driver that achieves two victories first crowned champion.

CarsEdit

The cars used in The Race Of Champions vary from year to year. Prior to each run, a type of car is assigned to both of the drivers, with each machine being identical in every respect. Over the course of the event, each driver will get to drive several different cars.

In 2012, the cars selected for the Race Of Champions included a ROC Car buggy, the KTM X-Bow, the Audi R8 LMS, the Lamborghini Gallardo SuperTrofeo, the VW Scirocco R-Cup and the NASCAR European Stock Car.

HistoryEdit

 
Two-time winner Stig Blomqvist driving an Audi Quattro S1.

Early events (1988–1991)Edit

The first-ever Race of Champions was held in 1988 at the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry near Paris, in memory of Henri Toivonen, who died while leading the 1986 Tour de Corse, and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the world championship for rally drivers.[1]

The inaugural cast included all the eight world rally champions from 1979 to 1988; Björn Waldegård, Walter Röhrl, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, Timo Salonen, Juha Kankkunen and Miki Biasion. The final was a battle between two "Flying Finns", in which Kankkunen beat Salonen to become the first "Champion of Champions". The cars used at the first event were Audi Quattro S1, BMW M3, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, Lancia Delta Integrale, Opel Manta 400 and Peugeot 205 Turbo 16.[2]

The following years saw new events in addition to the main race. The International Rally Masters, started in 1990, was designed to offer the season's best drivers, who were yet to win a championship title, the chance to win a spot in the main Race of Champions. The Classic Rally Masters, first contested in 1994, was a "historic" Race of Champions competed with pre-1965 Porsche 911s. These two events have since been discontinued.

There were an one-off appearances at the Nürburgring, Barcelona and Madrid, since 1989 till 1991.

Gran Canaria (1992–2003)Edit

The event found a permanent home for the next 12 years at the Ciudad Deportiva Islas Canarias venue on Gran Canaria starting from 1992. It was during this period that the emphasis on rally champions faded, as evidenced by victories for Andrea Aghini and François Delecour, neither of whom had won a WRC title. The Nations' Cup was introduced in 1999, bringing in circuit racing drivers and motorcyclists to the event for the first time, with 2001 marking the first time that non-rally drivers were eligible to compete for the main title.

2003 was the last time the event would be held on Gran Canaria, the event switching to stadium-based tracks from 2004. The change from gravel to tarmac circuits saw rally drivers lose their dominance, and by 2007 only a handful of rally drivers were present, with the majority made up of circuit racing drivers from F1, touring cars and sportscars.

Saint-Denis (2004–2006)Edit

 
2004 surprise winner Heikki Kovalainen driving a Solution F Prototype at the 2007 event.

The 2004 Race of Champions took place on December 6 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The individual event was won by Heikki Kovalainen, the first non-rally driver to win the crown, and the Nations' Cup by Jean Alesi and Sébastien Loeb representing France. There was also a special "World Champions Challenge" race held between 2004 Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and 2004 World Rally champion Sébastien Loeb, which Schumacher won.

 
Sébastien Loeb won his second title in 2005.

The 2005 event took place on December 3. The individual event was won by Sébastien Loeb after Tom Kristensen crashed out of the final, and the Nations' Cup event was won by Tom Kristensen and Mattias Ekström representing Scandinavia.

 
2006 winner Mattias Ekström demonstrating his DTM car at the 2007 event.

The 2006 event took place on December 16. The Nations' Cup was competed first and the event was won by Finland, with Heikki Kovalainen beating United States' Travis Pastrana on the final round. Kovalainen's teammate was the two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, whereas Pastrana drove all the rounds for the US team, after both Jimmie Johnson and his replacement, Scott Speed, had to withdraw from competing due to injuries.

The individual event and the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy was won by Mattias Ekström of Sweden. He beat Kovalainen by 0.0002 seconds in the semi-finals, and then defending champion, Sébastien Loeb of France, in the finals.

London (2007–2008)Edit

 
The 16 competitors line up before the start of the event.

The 2007 Race of Champions took place on December 16 at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The Nations' Cup took place at the start of the afternoon and was won by Germany over Finland. The individual event followed and the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy was won by Mattias Ekström of Sweden, beating Michael Schumacher of Germany in the final.

The 2008 event took place on December 14. Germany retained their Nations' Cup title by beating the Scandinavian team in the final, while Sébastien Loeb overcame the recently retired F1 stalwart David Coulthard to win the individuals' event.

Beijing (2009)Edit

The 2009 Race of Champions took place in Beijing's National Stadium on November 3–4. For the first time, regional finals were held to help determine the competitors for the Nations' Cup, with Monaco earning the right to compete in the main event after beating teams from Italy, Spain and Portugal at an event held in Porto on June 6–7.

Germany beat Great Britain to win the Nations' Cup for the third successive time, with Mattias Ekström beating Michael Schumacher to claim the individual title in a re-run of the 2007 final.

Düsseldorf (2010–2011)Edit

The 2010 Race of Champions took place in Düsseldorf's Esprit Arena on November 27–28.[3] Germany retained their Nations' Cup crown in front of their home crowd, once again beating Great Britain, while Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque was a surprise winner of the individual event after beating newly crowned F1 champion Sebastian Vettel in the semi-final and Sébastien Loeb in the final.

The 2011 event was due to take place in Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena on December 3–4,[4] but after Eintracht Frankfurt's relegation to German football's Second Division, the stadium could no longer host the event on those dates.[5] The Race of Champions was held in the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, just as in 2010.[6]

Germany secured their fifth successive Nations' Cup title, beating the Nordic team in the final, while up-and-coming rally star Sébastien Ogier beat Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in the final to clinch the individual crown.

Bangkok (2012–2013)Edit

The 2012 Race of Champions took place on December 14–16 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.[7] The individual Race Of Champions was won by Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean, who beat Tom Kristensen in the final. The Nations' Cup was won for the sixth consecutive time by Germany after overcoming France in the final.

The 2012 edition was the first to include a ROC Asia competition, with teams from host nation Thailand, India, China and Japan battling for two spots in the ROC Nations Cup and individual seats in the actual Race Of Champions.

The 2013 event was due to take place on the December 14–15 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, but was canceled due to political unrest in Bangkok.[8]

Barbados (2014)Edit

The 2014 Race of Champions was held in Barbados at the Bushy Park circuit on December 13–14.[9] This was the first time that the event was held in North America. The individual Race Of Champions was won by 13 times F1 race winner David Coulthard, who beat Mercedes F1 test driver and youngest ever DTM race winner Pascal Wehrlein in the final. The Nations' Cup was won by Team Nordic's Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg overcoming Team Great Britain's David Coulthard and Susie Wolff in the final.

The 2014 included a ROC Caribbean competition, with teams from host nation Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago battling for two spots in the ROC Nations Cup and individual seats in the actual Race Of Champions.

London (2015)Edit

In 2015 Race of Champions returned to London and was staged at London Stadium in Stratford. The ROC Nations Cup was held on Friday 20 November and the Race of Champions on Saturday 21 November.

Drivers included four times Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel, nine times 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and FIA World Rallycross Championship winner Petter Solberg. The ROC Nations Cup was won by Team England 1 consisting of Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx, while Sebastian Vettel was crowned Champion of Champions.

Miami (2017)Edit

The 2017 Race of Champions was held at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, on January 21–22. This was the Second time that the event was held in North America. Fifteen drivers from six nations competed at the 2017 ROC. Drivers included 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Kyle Busch, and former Indy 500 Champion Juan Pablo Montoya, who each participated in their first ROC.[10]

Juan Pablo Montoya was crowned the Champion of Champions after defeating Tom Kristensen, while Sebastian Vettel won the Nations Cup for Team Germany after teammate Pascal Wehrlein did not compete in the Nations Cup after suffering an accident during the Champion of Champions event the day prior. Team USA drivers Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch were the runners up for the Nations Cup.

Riyadh (2018)Edit

The 2018 Race of Champions was held at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, becoming the first international motorsports event to be held in Saudi Arabia.[11]

Mexico City (2019)Edit

The 2019 Race of Champions was held at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, becoming the third Race of Champions to be held in North America.

WinnersEdit

Year Location Race of Champions Nations' Cup winners Other trophies
Winner Runner-up Nation Drivers
2019   Mexico City   Benito Guerra   Loïc Duval    Nordic Johan Kristoffersson
Tom Kristensen
  James Baldwin
(eROC)
  Sebastian Vettel
(ROC Skills Challenge)
  Rubén Garcia Jr
(ROC Mexico Race 1)
  Abraham Calderón
(ROC Mexico Race 2)
  Robby Gordon
(Super Stadium Trucks Race 1)
  Matthew Brabham
(Super Stadium Trucks Race 2)
2018   Riyadh   David Coulthard   Petter Solberg   Germany Timo Bernhard
René Rast
  Johan Kristoffersson
(ROC Skills Challenge)
  Enzo Bonito
(eROC)
2017   Miami   Juan Pablo Montoya   Tom Kristensen   Germany Sebastian Vettel   Petter Solberg
(ROC Skills Challenge)
2016 No race as the event was changed from late to early year
2015   London   Sebastian Vettel   Tom Kristensen   England 1 Jason Plato
Andy Priaulx
  Chris Hoy
(ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge)
2014   Bushy Park   David Coulthard   Pascal Wehrlein    Nordic Tom Kristensen
Petter Solberg
  Barbados
(ROC Caribbean)
  Esteban Ocon
(ROC Skills Challenge)
2013   Bangkok Cancelled due to Thai political crisis
2012   Bangkok   Romain Grosjean   Tom Kristensen   Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
  India
(ROC Asia)
  Nattavude Charoensukawattana
(ROC Thailand)
2011   Düsseldorf   Sébastien Ogier   Tom Kristensen   Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
  Heinz-Harald Frentzen
(ROC Legends)
2010   Düsseldorf   Filipe Albuquerque   Sébastien Loeb   Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
Not held
2009   Beijing   Mattias Ekström   Michael Schumacher   Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
  Dong He Bin
(ROC China)
  Andy Priaulx
(ROC Legends)
2008   London   Sébastien Loeb   David Coulthard   Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
Not held
2007   London   Mattias Ekström   Michael Schumacher   Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
2006   Saint-Denis   Mattias Ekström   Sébastien Loeb   Finland Heikki Kovalainen
Marcus Grönholm
2005   Saint-Denis   Sébastien Loeb   Tom Kristensen    Scandinavia Tom Kristensen
Mattias Ekström
2004   Saint-Denis   Heikki Kovalainen   Sébastien Loeb   France Jean Alesi
Sébastien Loeb
2003   Gran Canaria   Sébastien Loeb   Marcus Grönholm     All-Stars Fonsi Nieto
Cristiano da Matta
Gilles Panizzi
  François Duval
(Junior Rally Masters)
2002   Gran Canaria   Marcus Grönholm   Sébastien Loeb   United States Jimmie Johnson
Jeff Gordon
Colin Edwards
  François Duval
(Junior Rally Masters)
2001   Gran Canaria   Harri Rovanperä   Armin Schwarz   Spain Jesús Puras
Rubén Xaus
Fernando Alonso
  François Duval
(Junior Rally Masters)
  Stig Blomqvist
(ROC Legends)
2000   Gran Canaria   Tommi Mäkinen   Marcus Grönholm   France Regis Laconi
Yvan Muller
Gilles Panizzi
  Armin Schwarz
(Rally Masters)

  Stig Blomqvist
(ROC Legends)

1999   Gran Canaria   Didier Auriol   Tommi Mäkinen   Finland Tommi Mäkinen
JJ Lehto
Kari Tiainen
  Armin Schwarz
(Rally Masters)

  Stig Blomqvist
(ROC Legends)

1998   Gran Canaria   Colin McRae   Alister McRae Not held   Alister McRae
(Rally Masters)
  Miki Biasion
(Classic Masters)
1997   Gran Canaria   Carlos Sainz   Colin McRae   Jarmo Kytölehto
(Rally Masters)

  Walter Röhrl
(Classic Masters)

1996   Gran Canaria   Didier Auriol   François Delecour   Flavio Alonso
(Rally Masters)
1995   Gran Canaria   François Delecour   Colin McRae   Andrea Aghini
(Rally Masters)

  Marc Duez
(Classic Masters)

1994   Gran Canaria   Didier Auriol   Stig Blomqvist   Timo Salonen
(Rally Masters)

  Jean-Louis Schlesser
(Classic Masters)

1993   Gran Canaria   Didier Auriol   Carlos Sainz   Stig Blomqvist
(Rally Masters)
1992   Gran Canaria   Andrea Aghini   Colin McRae   Flavio Alonso
(Rally Masters)
1991   Madrid   Juha Kankkunen   Didier Auriol   Josep Maria Bardolet
(Rally Masters)
1990   Barcelona   Stig Blomqvist   Tommi Mäkinen   Kenneth Eriksson
(Rally Masters)
1989   Nürburgring   Stig Blomqvist   Walter Röhrl Not held
1988   Montlhéry   Juha Kankkunen   Timo Salonen

Total winsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The concept". Race of Champions. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  2. ^ "History overview". Race of Champions. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Germany to host 2010 Race of Champions". raceofchampions.com. Race of Champions. 2010-04-23. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Frankfurt to host 2011 Race of Champions". raceofchampions.com. Race of Champions. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  5. ^ "New location for 2011 Race of Champions". raceofchampions.com. Race of Champions. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  6. ^ "The Race of Champions returns to Düsseldorf". raceofchampions.com. Race of Champions. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  7. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (25 May 2012). "Race of Champions moves to Thailand for 2012". Autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  8. ^ http://raceofchampions.com/News/general-news/race-of-champions-2013-update.aspx
  9. ^ "Bushy Park circuit in Barbados to host 2014 Race of Champions". Autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  10. ^ "ROC". Race of Champions. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  11. ^ Bradley, Charles. "Race Of Champions makes historic switch to Saudi Arabia". motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 18 October 2017.

External linksEdit