Sun 08 August 2010
The first practice sessions have taken place for ROC South Europe, which is being held at Portimão’s Autódromo Internacional do Algarve this weekend.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural ROC South Europe at the stadium of FC Porto, this year’s race will be run on a specially constructed parallel track along Portimão’s main straight and the first section of corners.
After his first practice run round the track, five-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner Emanuele Pirro said: “I’m not new to the Race of Champions, but I’m new to this type of track, which is a bit different to normal. You develop more speed and it’s a lot faster than usual so it’s more tricky. The good thing is that the tarmac has a lot more grip than the new-build tracks inside the stadium.”
All races will take place in identical machinery, which this weekend includes the ROC car, KTM X-Bow, Formula BMW single-seater, RX-150 buggy, Solution F and the RaceCar series.
Three-time F1 grand prix winner Johnny Herbert said: “The track is a lot harder than what we had at the Porto stadium last year – and also harder than the old Race of Champions circuit at Gran Canaria, where I competed a couple of times. It’s quite tricky in the buggy but surprisingly, the car that I’ve enjoyed most so far is the big one, the RaceCar series.”
World rally star Armin Schwarz added: “The track is very fast with lots of kinks, unusually for a Race of Champions track. It takes a bit of getting used to because some of the corners look the same. All the cars worked well but the buggy was the most fun as you can slide it around.”
Tonight’s event will also feature a shootout between eight of the best drivers from Portugal. Tomorrow’s ROC Regional Final will give teams from Portugal, Spain, Italy and Monaco the chance to battle for a place in the ROC Nations Cup World Final at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena in November.
Visit ROC South Europe Tickets for ROC South Europe tickets. Further details are available ifrom the website www.rocportugal.com.
• Five-time 500cc world motorcycle champion Mick Doohan
• Former F1 driver and five-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner Emanuele Pirro
• Multiple Formula 1 race winner Johnny Herbert
• World rally champion Stig Blomqvist
• Two-time world rally champion Marcus Grönholm
• World Rally Championship regular Armin Schwarz
• Three-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner Dindo Capello
• Portuguese off-road legend Filipe Campos
*The 2010 Race of Champions World Final will be held at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena on November 27-28. The driver roll call already includes seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher, four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost, 2010 F1 title contender Sebastian Vettel, six-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner Tom Kristensen and three-time world touring car champion Andy Priaulx.
More superstar drivers will be announced as November approaches. Tickets are available from the website www.raceofchampions.com with prices from 29 Euros. Sign up for the all latest updates at www.raceofchampions.com, @raceofchampions on Twitter or Race Of Champions on Facebook.