The draw has been made for the group stages of the 2011 Race Of Champions, which will take place in Germany next weekend, and has created some fascinating battles, including between Formula 1 World Champions Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button in Group C.
The end of season extravaganza takes place at DÃ¼sseldorf's ESPRIT arena over 3rd and 4th December. A draw took place at the stadium to during the week to set up the group stages, with the draw made by ex-F1 racer Heinz-Harald Frentzen and DTM racer Timo Scheider.
Group A sees reigning champion Filipe Albuquerque up for a tough start as he aims to defend him title, up against multiple WTCC champion Andy Priaulx, F1 legend David Coulthard and flamboyant American Travis Pastrana.
Group B will see DTM rivals Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk battle it out, while it also creates an interesting WRC v IRC battle, with Sebastien Ogier and Jan Kopecky completing the group. Group C sees Schumacher and Button joined by American Brian Deegan and rally star Juho Hanninen,
Group D pitches newly crowned double Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel against Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, with the group also setting up an interesting duel between Vitaly Petrov and Romain Grosjean, who are both in contention for the same Lotus F1 seat for next season.
Before the main action, the ROC Nations Cup takes place on Saturday. The draw for that has renowned the ancient rivalry of GB versus Germany in Group B, with home heroes Schumacher and Vettel needing to overcome Button and Priaulx if they are to win a fifth consecutive title together.
Race Of Champions (Sunday December 4)
ROC Nations Cup (Saturday December 3)
Team France (SÃ©bastien OGIER & Romain GROSJEAN)
Team Nordic (Tom KRISTENSEN & Juho HÃ„NNINEN)
Team USA (Travis PASTRANA & Brian DEEGAN)
Team Germany 2 (Timo GLOCK & Timo SCHEIDER)
Team Germany (Michael SCHUMACHER & Sebastian VETTEL)
Team Slavic (Vitaly PETROV & Jan KOPECKÃ)
Team Great Britain (Jenson BUTTON & Andy PRIAULX)
Team All Stars (David COULTHARD & Filipe ALBUQUERQUE)
Speaking after the draw, Frentzen said: “Taking a look at the groups I have to say the crowds will definitely see several very interesting duels: F1 stars against rally aces, DTM drivers against sportscar stars. It couldn't have worked out much better so the spectators can already look forward to a lot of thrilling race action.”
Frentzen will himself take part in a special ROC Legends Cup race on Sunday alongside fellow German F1 veteran Hans-Joachim Stuck plus former European rally champion Marc Duez and 1984 world rally champion Stig Blomqvist.
The drivers will compete in a variety of cars over the weekend, including the Audi R8 LMS, VW Scirocco, Skoda Fabia Super 200 rally car, ROC car, KTM X-Bow, WTCC car and the RX150 buggy.