Sat 03 December 2011
Formula 1 superstars Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher hailed Team Germany’s incredible fifth successive victory in the ROC Nations Cup after a dramatic evening’s work in front of their home crowd.
The German duo defeated Team Nordic’s Tom Kristensen and Juho Hänninen in the final after being taken to a decider in the best-of-three semi-final against Team Great Britain’s Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx.
After such an exciting ROC Nations Cup, the drivers gave their reaction to events. Here’s what some of them had to say:
Sebastian Vettel (Team Germany): “It’s special to win five in a row. This is a difficult event and a lot of things have to come together. You jump into different cars and it’s easy to lose it so you have to push yourself to the limit. Winning at home makes up for the Nürburgring, which wasn’t my best race of the F1 season! I enjoyed tonight. The fans were incredible, giving us a boost when we came into the stadium and when we crossed the line. In fact the atmosphere felt much better than last year so I hope we can carry this through to tomorrow.”
Michael Schumacher (Team Germany): “It’s always a pleasure for us to be here – and especially to win it. Sebastian and I are good mates and we work well with each other and help each other. In the end it worked out right for us. Unlike him, this is one of the few wins I’ve had this year – apart from a few in karts. There are so many great drivers here and we are all good in our own area. So this is just a nice competition and the social moments that we get to spend together behind the scenes are very special.”
Tom Kristensen (Team Nordic): “It was a good evening for us. I’m not German but I still had good support from the crowd when we won. It was nice to drive all these different cars, and they all gave me a good feeling, especially the Audi. But I’m really impressed with my young team-mate. He was a bit nervous to start with but I told him to just go out there and enjoy it. And he produced a really mature and impressive performance to win in the semi-final. His heart rate hasn’t been above 90bpm all day so I’m wondering what it is when he sleeps! Overall it was a great result to be on the podium.”
Juho Hänninen (Team Nordic): “Compared to yesterday’s practice, I had a more confident feeling tonight. Tom was a huge help today, saying just relax and don’t worry, enjoy. I lost my first race, then I won with the Skoda – I think I had to do that! Then we had a nice fight with Ogier in the VW Scirocco. That was probably my best moment today. We didn’t quite make it in the final. When I noticed Seb ahead of me on the first lap, I started to push more and made a mistake. But altogether this is a nice feeling.”
Jenson Button (Team Great Britain): “We’ve been on the verge for the last three years and it just hasn’t come together. I had two races against Michael Schumacher in the World Touring Racecar and there was a tenth between us on both occasions with one win each. But again the decider got away from us in the semi-final.”
Romain Grosjean (Team France): “Sébastien Ogier did a fantastic job to win all three races in the group stages to take us through. I made a lot of mistakes at the start of the evening and had two spins, which is far too much in the space of four laps! But things improved after that and It’s a pity we got knocked out in the semi-finals. Still, now we can concentrate on tomorrow’s Race Of Champions. I don’t have the easiest group – with Vettel, Kristensen and Petrov – but you never know...”
Timo Glock (SAT1 Team Germany 2): “It’s naturally a shame that we couldn’t progress any further tonight. We went straight in with two wins, then I just got blown away by Tom Kristensen in the Audi R8 and the other Timo had a very hard race against Sébastien Ogier in the rally car. That was difficult and in the end they beat us. Unfortunately we’re not racing tomorrow because otherwise there would be too many Germans out there! So we can relax a bit with the other guys…”
Timo Scheider (SAT1 Team Germany 2): “First of all it was a great opportunity for all of us to be a part of this event. The guys who put on the Race Of Champions are really committed and it’s a special thing for all of us. We had a good practice session yesterday and Timo did a good job today but I lost my race against Travis Pastrana. I won against Juho Hänninen in the Scirocco, which was okay, then had a tough time against Sébastien Ogier in the Skoda. Still this was our first experience and it was good fun.”
Travis Pastrana (Team USA): “I thought the Audi R8 LMS would be my least skilled car and that I’d do the best in the rally car but it proved the other way round. It started off well for me when I beat Timo Scheider in the Audi – especially as he has won two world championships in a similar kind of car. But then it just went downhill and I really struggled, crashing out in the rally car against Juho Hänninen. So we didn’t really stand a chance but now we’ll have to think about how to do better in the Race Of Champions.”
*Tickets for Sunday’s individual Race Of Champions are still available from www.raceofchampions.com with prices starting at 19 Euros. The last few remaining tickets will be available at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena box office from 10am on Sunday.
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