In the Race of Champions Nations Cup, it would be Team Nordic who took the title around the Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City. It would
The title would be taken by both Tom Kristensen and Johan Kristoffersson defeating the reigning champions; Team Germany. The result marks the second year in a row that Kristoffersson has won a secondary ROC title, after winning the Skills Challenge last year. For Kristensen it’s his third Teams title.
Starting in Group C, Kristensen started their campaign with defeat after losing to David Coulthard in the opening race due to a spin around the loop. The Dane would not lose again though, with Kristoffersson beating the other British driver Andy Priaulx and Team USA’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, while Kristensen recovered to beat Josef Newgarden.
Moving into the Semi-Finals, Team Nordic came up against Team Mexico, with Kristoffersson narrowly beating Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward by under a second in the Swede’s own event. A 2-0 victory was assured when Kristensen beat Esteban Gutierrez.
As for Team Germany, they started in Group A with Sebastian Vettel lining up against F1 rival Pierre Gasly. The Ferrari driver crossed the line 0.3 seconds ahead of Gasly in one of the closest finishes of the competition. Vettel would take a clean sweep of victories, though Mick Schumacher could only beat Loic Duval losing a crucial final to O’Ward which ensured that both Team Mexico and Germany ended on four wins a piece.
Germany would progress as group winners due to Vettel’s 3 individual wins compared to Gutierrez and O’Ward’s 2.
The Semi-Final saw them come up against Group B winners Team Brazil. After Vettel beat Lucas di Grassi, Schumacher recovered to beat Indycar legend Helio Castroneves in the RX Superlite car. Setting up a final between Germany and Nordic.
Vettel would pair up against ROC’s most experienced competitor; Kristensen in the first race, but the pressure got to him, crashing in the final corner, hindering his run to the line and letting the 9-time Le Mans winner take the flag.
Kristoffersson had been unbeaten up to that point, but finally met his match in the second race as Schumacher defeated the World RallyCross champion in the Vuhl-5 Track Car. The young Schumacher was again selected to face Kristensen in the final, with ‘Mr Le Mans’ taking the flag by 0.35 seconds in the KTM X-Bow.
“That was a very tight fight, as you saw with my race with Sebastian.” said Kristensen. “Then Mick had a brilliant fight with Johan that took it to the decider. He should be very proud of himself on his first visit to the Race Of Champions – and I’m always proud any time I beat a Schumacher.”
Kristensen famously knocked Michael Schumacher out of ROC 2011, a day after Schumacher had defeated him in the Nations Cup Final to take Team Germany’s fifth consecutive crown.
“We are both very proud to take Team Nordic to the win today. It was Johan who brought us into the final, because he was very strong early on. He started the day better and I finished the day better, and it worked out in the end.
“The Mexican crowd has a lot of passion and we loved being here. This was my 15th ROC appearance, equalling Stig Blomqvist’s record. I hope Stig is watching it somewhere and I hope he’s a bit proud of me even if I’m not a Swede!”
The individual event continues today at the Foro Sol.