Solberg and Rest of the World Beat America in ROC Miami


Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net

To conclude the 2017 Race of Champions, the competitors were split into Team USA and the Rest of the World, in a straight fight between the drivers. After 10 races with increasingly escalating points, R.O.W. came out on top after a dramatic final with Petter Solberg securing the crown.

Unique to the 2017 event, the organisers would put the American drivers head-to-head with the other competitors with a point to be earned by each side for their respective team, if they won the best-of-three event. Each side had a captain with David Coulthard leading R.O.W. as a driving representative.

It was strong start for the United States as they won the opening heat, but it was Champion of Champions Juan Pablo Montoya who hit back with an immediate retaliation.

This form was continued by Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, before Felipe Massa pushed Coulthard’s team to a two point advantage over the local talent.

The second of three races that featured an American vs a Brazilian saw Alexander Rossi finally recover some pride by winning against experienced Indycar driver Tony Kanaan.

After that, all eyes were on David Coulthard who produced the closest finish of the competition, by losing by only 0.004s in the opening heat to Kurt Busch. The American would lose the second heat, but another narrow finish rounded out the one point events with the score at 3-3.

Jenson Button drove the ROW team around the track in celebration after the event. (Credit: Craig Robertson/RacePhotography.net)

Drama continued into the two point races with Scott Speed beating Helio Castroneves. The pairs’ heat had been delayed after they crashed their cars in the pits and the Brazilian had problems throughout his competition.

It looked over for Travis Pastrana as he spun his car in the first heat. He had trouble shifting, but was given a life line as Sebastian Vettel missed a gear in the second race. This saw the duo go down to a decider that Pastrana initially won before being given a 5 second penalty for a jump-start.

The remaining two-point event saw Kyle Busch beat Jenson Button, setting up a final decider between Solberg and Speed.

With the final to be run in a Rally car, it was only sensible that the former World RallyCross Champion went up against the double Global RallyCross Champion.

Time constraints saw the final reduced to a single race with a win for either driver taking the title for their associated team. Solberg would make the slightly stronger start, clearly processing more car control than his rival to win by over a second.

As the dust settled in the Marlins Park Baseball Stadium, the Rest of World celebrated an 8-7 victory over the United States with Button driving Solberg and the rest of his team around for a victory lap of the stadium.