Coulthard Beats Solberg to Clinch Second ROC Title


Credit: Race of Champions

After a hectic Saturday at the Race of Champions, it would be David Coulthard who came away with the title of Champion of Champions, beating double World RallyCross Champion Petter Solberg at the King Fayd International Stadium in Saudi Arabia.

Coulthard has previously sealed the title in 2014, when he claimed honours in Barbados. At 46, Coulthard is the oldest driver to ever win the driver’s title, beating Stig Blomqvist‘s record from 1990.

The Group stages had started strongly for the Scottish driver, winning all three of his races, with his, and the group stages, best time coming against Tom Kristensen, lapping in 57.4493 seconds. Winning his other two races would see Kristensen promoted as runner-up to Coulthard in Group B.

From there Coulthard progressed to the Knockout stages, easily beating Indycar’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, before once again facing Kristensen. The former McLaren race winner kept up his unbeaten form to progress to the final against fellow ROC ace Solberg.

Having topped Group C and beat Josef Newgarden, Swedish World RallyCross Champion Johan Kristoffersson went up against his teammate Solberg in the second Semi-Final, but lost out after a poor start in the Vuhl machine.

The final would be a best of three event, with Coulthard narrowly edging Solberg in the Whelen Euro NASCARs by just over half a second. Solberg would be hoping to hit back in the Vuhl 05 machine, but a poor opening lap handed a straight victory to the Formula 1 race winner and thus the overall crown.

Coulthard claimed his second ROC win in Saudi Arabia (Credit: Race of Champions)

Most of the major upsets came early in the Group stages, with the SIM Racing representative Rudy van Buren took a win against FIA WEC driver Timo Bernhard. After a dominant day for the Germans on Friday, both Bernhard and Rene Rast failed to make it out of their repective groups.

Group A had seen defending ROC champion Juan Pablo Montoya win all of his races, though failed to progress after being bested by Kristensen, while runner-up Hunter-Reay lost to Coulthard in the quarter-finals.

Van Buren couldn’t pull off the same heroics against Coulthard and Kritstensen in Group B, while Group C produced the closest ever finish between the Swede’s Kristoffersson and Joel Eriksson. Both would progress, as Rast ensured three drivers ended up on two wins apiece.

The best times from the Ariel Atom was used to determine the progressing pair with Rast being kicked out along with Lando Norris, whose crash while driving against Kristoffersson had left him with an injured hand and unable to race.

Finally Group D saw Solberg win all three races with Newgarden promoted as runner-up. There was some surprise between the Saudi drivers though as ROC Factor winner Ahmed Bin Khanen beat WRC-2 and ERC Rally winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi, the only driver not to set a time below the one minute mark.