Sat 13 December 2014
Team Nordic’s Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg are celebrating after they took a stunning victory in the 2014 ROC Nations Cup at Bushy Park Barbados.
On a hot afternoon in the Caribbean, legends from many of the world’s biggest motor sport series teamed up in pairs to battle for national and regional pride. They raced a mix of cars – including the Ariel Atom Cup, Audi R8 LMS, Stadium Super Truck, VW Polo RX, KTM X-Bow, ROC Car and Euro NASCAR – on a purpose-built parallel track at Bushy Park Barbados.
Before the racing the drivers unfurled a banner in conjunction with the institute for advanced research into brain and spinal cord injuries ICM in honour of ROC’s absent friend Michael Schumacher as he continues his recovery from his skiing accident. Michael and fellow countryman Sebastian Vettel had won a record six consecutive ROC Nations Cup titles prior to today’s action.
But what an afternoon of action it was – as Le Mans legend Kristensen and FIA World Rallycross Champion Solberg prevailed in the final against Team Scotland. First Kristensen defeated Williams F1 official test driver Susie Wolff, then 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard won out against Solberg to take it to the decider. But Kristensen came out on top in the end, winning the final heat after Coulthard spun off at the final corner (see picture below).
Host nation Team Barbados (Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson) delighted the home fans with a magnificent ROC Nations Cup debut, making it through to the semi-final before they were beaten by Team Scotland. Skeete kept the crowd on the edge of their seats by defeating Wolff but Coulthard came out on top in the end with two wins.
Even more success lay ahead for Team Barbados as they went on to win the inaugural ROC Caribbean, beating Team Jamaica in the final after seeing off Team Guyana and Team Trinidad & Tobago in the group stages.
In the other ROC Nations Cup semi-final Team Nordic beat Team France pair Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon by two heats to one. Kristensen and Grosjean both won their original heats but the Dane avenged his defeat in the 2012 individual Race Of Champions final to take his team through.
Earlier in the afternoon, Team Nordic (four wins) and Team France (three wins) both progressed through the round-robin Group A to reach the semi-finals. Team Young Stars were only eliminated on countback of fastest lap time after they joined Team France on three group wins – two for Mercedes F1 reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein and one for GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer.
Team Americas were also knocked out despite seven-time off-road champion Robby Gordon’s two wins. But World Touring Car Champion José-Maria ‘Pechito’ López did give the crowd some memorable early entertainment as he rolled one of team-mate Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks.
Team Scotland topped Group B with five wins out of six – three for Coulthard and two for Wolff. Team Barbados joined them in the semi-finals, knocking out Team USA on fastest lap time after both finished on three wins. 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay took two wins and NASCAR champion Kurt Busch one win but it was not enough. Team Australia’s five-time MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan and six-time V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup also went out despite Whincup’s late consolation victory.
There is plenty more action to come in Barbados on Sunday as the drivers will put their regional friendships aside and go it alone in the individual Race Of Champions. All the action starts at 12pm Barbados time, 4pm GMT. Anyone buying tickets on the door for tomorrow's action (Zones A, B and C) will receive a 50 percent discount - while existing ticket holders can bring a friend for free.
Coverage of Saturday’s ROC Nations Cup and Sunday’s Race Of Champions will be available on television all over the world. Stations showing ROC live include Motors TV throughout Europe, Fox in Latin America and Brazil, BEInSport (the Middle East), Sony Entertainment Network (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), FOX Australia, Super Sport in Africa plus many more. Please check local listings for broadcast times.
For access to high-resolution imagery please visit www.raceofchampions.com. You can sign up for all the latest updates at www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook or @raceofchampions and #ROCBarbados on Twitter.
Tomorrow’s Race Of Champions Draw
Romain GROSJEAN, Lotus F1 Team driver, reigning ROC Champion of Champions
Jamie WHINCUP, V8 Supercars Champion 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008
David COULTHARD, 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
Mick DOOHAN, 500cc MotoGP World Champion 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994
Petter SOLBERG, FIA World Rallycross Champion 2014
Kurt BUSCH, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion 2004
Susie WOLFF, official test driver for the Williams F1 team
Fastest Team Barbados driver from ROC Caribbean
José-Maria LOPEZ, FIA World Touring Car Champion 2014
Robby GORDON, seven-time Off-road Champion, three-time Baja 1000 winner
Fastest ROC Caribbean driver from the other teams
Esteban OCON, FIA European F3 Champion 2014
Tom KRISTENSEN, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner
Ryan HUNTER-REAY, Indianapolis 500 winner 2014, IndyCar Champion 2012
Jolyon PALMER, FIA GP2 Series Champion 2014
Pascal WEHRLEIN, youngest ever DTM winner, Mercedes F1 testing in Abu Dhabi