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News Story

Vitaly Petrov becomes ROC's first Russian driver

01/11/2011 10:30:00

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  • Russian Formula 1 star Vitaly Petrov has signed up to compete at the 2011 Race Of Champions in Düsseldorf
  • Petrov, who races for the Lotus Renault GP team, will become the first driver from Eastern Europe to compete at the event
  • The Russian joins a star-studded field that includes three F1 world champions for ROC 2011 at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena on December 3-4

      The 2011 Race Of Champions will feature the event’s first ever driver from Eastern Europe as Russian Formula 1 star Vitaly Petrov will compete at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena in December.

      Also Formula 1’s first Russian driver, Petrov has had a strong season in 2011 for the Lotus Renault GP team. A podium in the year’s first race in Australia has been followed by a string of points finishes to leave him in the F1 world championship top ten.

      That form is all the more impressive given that – unlike most of the F1 field – Petrov did not learn his race craft in karting. Born in the Russian town of Vyborg, he had no easy access to a local kart track so he began competing in rally sprints and ice racing events. But after winning every race in the 2002 Lada Cup, Petrov was soon on a more conventional road to the top of motor racing via successful years in GP2. Now he has earned an invitation to compete at the Race Of Champions.

      Petrov said: “It was a great honour to be the first Russian driver in Formula 1 – and now I’m delighted to become the first Russian to compete at the Race Of Champions. I’ve followed the event for a long time and I know that all the drivers claim to be there for fun, while pushing as hard as ever in the cars. I’ve never raced in an event with such a quick turnaround of machinery but perhaps my unusual background in rally sprints and ice racing can help me. I’ll give my best and see what happens.”

      The Race Of Champions is an annual end-of-season competition that brings together the world’s greatest drivers from all motor sport’s disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery on a specially constructed parallel track. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 3 December, before the individual Race Of Champions takes place on Sunday 4 December.

      ROC race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said: “We’re always aiming to expand our horizons at the Race Of Champions so we’re thrilled to have our first Russian driver on board. Vitaly had a great GP2 career and he has carried that over to Formula 1 in the past two years. We look forward to seeing him take on ROC’s best in December.”

      Drivers confirmed so far for ROC 2011 include Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button – who have ten Formula 1 world championships between them. Even more big names will be added in the run-up to the event at Düsseldorf in December. For information about tickets (starting from €19) please visit the website www.raceofchampions.com.

      Drivers already confirmed for the 2011 Race Of Champions:

      • Sebastian VETTEL, 2010 and 2011 Formula 1 World Champion
      • Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
      • Jenson BUTTON, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion
      • Andy PRIAULX, three-time World Touring Car Champion
      • Tom KRISTENSEN, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner
      • Mattias EKSTROM, DTM star and triple ROC Champion of Champions
      • Sébastien OGIER, winner of five WRC rallies in 2011
      • Romain GROSJEAN, 2011 GP2 Series Champion
      • Travis PASTRANA, four-time Rally America winner and X-Games legend
      • Martin TOMCZYK, 2011 DTM Champion
      • Vitaly PETROV, the first Russian driver in Formula 1
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