Thu 05 November 2009
Swede Mattias Ekstrom completed a remarkable hat trick of Race of Champions titles today, beating seven-time F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher in the final.
The double DTM champion added the 2009 crown to the back-to-back ROC titles he won in 2006 and 2007.
On his way to the title, Ekstrom won his group over triple World Touring Car champion, Andy Priaulx, five-time Moto GP champion, Mick Doohan and multiple X-Games gold medallist, Travis Pastrana. He beat eight-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner, Tom Kristensen, in the quarter finals and newly crowned F1 World Champion, Jenson Button in the semi-final.
Ekstrom put his continuing success at The Race of Champions down to his upbringing: “I was born in the countryside in Sweden and drove lots of different cars as a boy, plus I've also had the pleasure of racing a lot of good touring cars, sportscars and rally cars. That is what makes the difference for me.
“I look across at Michael on the start line and I think 'why should I beat him? His driving his spotless'. A tenth of a second here and there isn't a lot but sometimes it is enough and driving against Michael is always a pleasure. I always pretend to be thinking about whether to come to The Race of Champions or not but actually I'm never thinking about it.”
Schumacher said: “It has been a nice event, all in all, as always. It has the right mixture of seriousness behind the wheel and a relaxed atmosphere in which to meet some good guys.”
F1 World Champion Jenson Button reached the semi-finals, having won his group and beaten compatriot, Andy Priaulx, in the quarter finals. The man who was runner-up to Button in the F1 World Championship, Sebastian Vettel, also reached the penultimate round, losing to Schumacher.
Full results can be found at www.raceofchampions.com and a race by race account of The Race of Champions 2009 will appear on the site shortly.