Saturday, 15 December 2012

ROC Nations Cup - Vettel And Schumacher Do It Again

Sebastien Vettel and Michael Schumacher claimed a record sixth consecutive crown as Team Germany dominated the Race of Champions Nations Cup once again as Thailand made it's bow as host for the anual end of season spectacle.

The Asian nations struggled
Germany, in arguably the easiest of the two groups, saw off Thailand, India and Australia, beating the latter both in the group and in the semi final, to cruise into the final. They won every single race they took part in, easily brushing aside the Asian nations whist Australia posed little challenge. The experienced Indian team of Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok had little time to adjust to over night track adjustments whilst home nation Thailand consisting of drivers Charoensukawattana Nattavude and Tin Sintrai took home the wooden spoon with only one win. Australia's hopes ended with multiple Moto GP Champion crashed his Lamborghini Super Trofeo car in the semi final.

Jorge Lorenzo was strong
Fellow finalists France however, had it a little harder. Last years ROC winner Sebastien Ogier was paired with Romain Grosjean and competed against The Americas, Great Britain, and Team All Stars (Tom Kristensen of Denmark and Jorge Lorenzo of Spain) in group A, finishing top. All Stars joined France in the semi finals, with GB finishing bottom of the group thanks to  two wins and a yellow card in each of their races. The Americas, made up of Indy Car Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mexican Benito Guerra only missed out on second place due to their time being slower than the All Stars. Reigning Moto GP Champion Jorge Lorenzo surprised many, competing in his first ROC, putting in some strong performances.

France beat All Stars to get into the final
In the final itself, the first heat pitted 7 time F1 champion Michael Schumacher against Franco-Swiss F1 rookie Romain Grosjean in the KTM X-Bow. The Germans took the win after Grosjean lost time courtesy of a slide. Ogier was to take on Vettel in the second heat in the custom ROC Buggy but lost out to Vettel, in what has been his strongest car at the ROC.

With an unprecedented six in a row, Schumacher and Vettel vowed to return to try and win a seventh Nations Cup crown in 2013. Schumacher insisted his F1 retirement would not stop him returning to the ROC in the future stating "For sure, we're going to be here, that's a must".

Vettel's final win secured another crown
The actual Race Of Champions competition takes place tomorrow in Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium with both Sebastien Vettel and Michael Schumacher looking for their first win in the highly competitive individual event, hoping to join a list of names including Sebastien Loeb, Mattias Ekstrom, Colin McRae and others. Meanwhile, Sebastien Ogier will be looking to defend his crown after his shock win in 2011.

Team Germany - 10 F1 world titles and 6 ROC Nations Cups between them.

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