Team Nordic’s pairing of Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg have drawn first blood in this year’s Race of Champions as they claimed a two heats to one victory over Team Scotland in the ROC Nations Cup.
As the day’s activities got underway, there was a moment of reflection for the eight teams as they unveiled a banner remembering regular ROC competitor Michael Schumacher who was sorely missed by all in the paddock, #ForzaMichael.
In the initial group stages it was clear that while some people have good luck others have very, very bad luck. Jose Maria Lopez, the 2014 WTCC champion, first had the engine in his ROC buggy expire mid race then – when racing the wonderful Stadium Super Trucks – he rolled the machine over coming to the end of the final lap.
When the heats were decided and the semi-finals got underway it was a local pairing, Team Barbados of Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson, who were charging up the charts and it was only when they came up against Team Scotland – David Coulthard and Susie Wolff – with Skeete drawing first blood against Wolff before Coulthard took two wins on the spin to ensure their place in the final.
In the second semi-final Team France, consisting of Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean and F3 Champion Esteban Occon, also lost 2-1 as Grosjean and Kristensen both took a win a piece before ‘Mr Le Mans’ quickly became Mr ROC as he avenged his individual final loss to the Frenchman in 2012.
The Bushy Park circuit then well and truly heated up as the first ROC event in the Caribbean saw Scotland take on the Nordic nations.
In the first heat, Audi’s recently retired Endurance racing ace Kristensen held out against Wolff before Coulthard beat FIA World RallyCross Champion Solberg to make the final level at one win a piece.
It was at that point that the two heat winners faced off against each other, the race was neck and neck until the final corner of the final lap as Coulthard went wide in the Ariel Atom Cup car and was slowed by the gravel giving the Dane a clear run to the flag.
With the finalists on a high after their achievements in the ROC Nations Cup they will be hoping they can carry on the good form in the individual competition which takes place tomorrow.