Thu 16 July 2015
Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier will compete at this year’s Race Of Champions on November 21 at the Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the iconic home of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Ogier has dominated the World Rally Championship since his switch to Volkswagen three years ago. He won his first world title in 2013 with victory at his home Rallye de France and he swiftly repeated the feat with another championship last year. In 2015 he leads the title race yet again; in total he has amassed over 20 wins for VW – over two thirds of all the WRC rallies of the last three years.
The Frenchman earned his first invitation to the Race Of Champions in 2011, taking ROC by storm by racing to the 'Champion of Champions' title at his very first attempt with a Grand Final victory over Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen (pictured below). He returned in 2012 and reached the ROC Nations Cup final for Team France alongside F1 star Romain Grosjean, only to be beaten by Team Germany’s all-conquering duo of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Now Ogier will be back at the Race Of Champions in London as he looks to add to his haul of silverware.
Ogier said: “I’m delighted to be coming back to compete in the Race Of Champions. There is no better way to end the season – and this year it is taking place just a week after the last rally on the WRC calendar so I’ll do everything to make sure I can come to London as a three-time world rally champion.
“I’ve followed ROC since its early days in Gran Canaria so it was amazing to win at my first attempt in 2011. Now I’ll try my best to do it again in London. There are many top drivers already signed up and they’re all greats in their own fields so I know it will be a tough battle. Whatever happens it’s fun to see who comes out on top and we’ll make sure we put on a great show for the crowds in November.”
The Race Of Champions is an annual end-of-season contest which has been held for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, World Rally, Le Mans, MotoGP and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
The event is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on the evening of Friday November 20) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on the afternoon of Saturday November 21 it’s time for the Race Of Champions itself, when teamwork goes out of the window and it’s a flat-out battle for individual glory. Due to a date clash on Friday, Ogier will take part only on Saturday as he bids to win back his ‘Champion of Champions’ title.
Along with Ogier, drivers already confirmed for ROC 2015 include four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, the reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg and current ROC Champion of Champions David Coulthard.
ROC president Fredrik Johnsson said: “With two world championships and counting, Sébastien is the undisputed star of rallying today – and his domination is such that he can already lay claim to be one of the sport’s all-time greats. So we are thrilled that he will be coming back to the Race Of Champions in November.
“When Sébastien first joined us in 2011 he was an instant hit as he won the individual title on his debut. He is sure to be one of the leading contenders again this time and we hope to see a full house watch him take on some of motor sport’s biggest names in London’s former Olympic Stadium. It’s only a short hop from France so we expect many of his countrymen will make the trip across the Channel to enjoy ROC’s blend of non-stop action. Then Sébastien can also enjoy some ‘home’ support too…”
In recent years ROC has visited the Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), the ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium in Beijing (2009), Düsseldorf’s Esprit Arena (2010-2011), the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok (2012) and Bushy Park Barbados (2014). Now the contest is returning to its European roots at the iconic home of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was the backdrop to some of the most memorable action of London 2012, plus the opening and closing ceremonies. Now it is being transformed into a year-round multi-use venue that will deliver a lasting sporting, cultural and community legacy in east London. The works will be paused this autumn for a range of international sporting events – including its fastest ever race as ROC comes to town – before it closes for further refurbishment ahead of its full re-opening in 2016.
it closes for further refurbishment ahead of its full re-opening in 2016.
Tickets for ROC 2015 in London are now available via www.raceofchampions.com. For access to rights-free high-resolution imagery and to keep up with all the latest news ahead of this year’s event please visit www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCLondon on Twitter.