Mon 02 November 2009
A1GP racer and ex-Williams F1 test driver, Dong He Bin, has been crowned the inaugural ROC China champion, after defeating crowd favourite Han Han in the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing.
Dong He Bin came through a heat, quarter final, and semi final on his route to ROC China victory, each time deposing his fellow Chinese racing drivers. In the final, he faced novelist and rally driver, Han Han, crossing the line 2.2 seconds ahead to take the title.
ROC China kicks off the biggest ever Race Of Champions event – this year's ROC covers three days of action, with The ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday November 3 seeing drivers pair up to represent their country, and The Race of Champions, in which each driver guns for individual glory, on Wednesday November 4.
His victory in ROC China hands Dong He Bin a place in The Race of Champions, in which he will go head to head against such motorsport legends as seven-time F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher, newly-crowned F1 World Champion, Jenson Button and eight-time Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen.
Dong He Bin and ROC China runner-up, Han Han, will also team up to form Team China in The ROC Nations Cup.
Dong He Bin said: “I am looking forward to tomorrow, when Han Han and I will team up for The ROC Nations Cup. Looking at our efforts today, I think we have a good chance, although we will be racing Michael Schumacher and all the others. I am confident that we will be a strong team.”
ROC China was not without incident – Dong He Bin's semi final rival, Wang Shao Feng, ended his challenge with a spectacular accident, in which he hit the wall and rolled his RX150 buggy. Rem Zhi Guo also had a coming together with the concrete wall around the outside of the parallel tracks inside the Bird's Nest, putting him out of the very first heat against Han Han.
Monday's action also included the ROC Beijing Challenge, in which some of the racing stars who will later compete for The Race of Champions itself, raced against the Chinese drivers from ROC China.
A jubilant Emanuele Pirro emerged victorious, beating reigning Dakar Rally champion, Giniel de Villiers, in the final and marking himself out as a man to beat come The Race of Champions on Wednesday.
Five time Le Mans 24 Hour winner Pirro said: “I really, really enjoyed the event. I drove my 2002 Le Mans-winning car in Beijing several years ago so I've been here before. But the Bird's Nest is an unbelievable location for a car race. I've been really impressed at how nice the Chinese people are and I can see how they love their motor racing.”
Double Olympic shooting gold medalist, Yang Lin, was crowned the winner of the ROC Celebrity Challenge.