Race of Champions

2023 Race of Champions: Draw sets brackets for individual, Nations Cup

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Credit: Race of Champions

As the 2023 Race of Champions looms, Tuesday saw a random draw to set the brackets for both the Nations Cup on Saturday and the individual tournament the next day. The draw was conducted by Pite Havsbad Group executives Tobias Lindfors and Kristoffer Lundström.

Like the first edition in Sweden in 2022, the group stage format was dropped since the weather can easily manipulate a snow/ice course, which would result in scoring confusion.

The first round (a preliminary) and the Round of 16 will be determined via two heats, with the winner being whomever wins both or with the better faster time in the event of a tie. The Nations Cup will have four heats for said rounds to account for there being twice as many drivers.

Team Nordic’s Petter and Oliver Solberg will begin their Nations Cup defence against Team Sweden‘s Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström. Sébastien Loeb, winner of the 2022 ROC individual tourney, takes on Thierry Neuville in his first race in that bracket.

“You need to be adaptable in Race of Champions, you need to be able to jump into anything and go flat out,” said Petter, who will race against his son to begin the individual bracket. “But the thing is with this event, you just don’t know what’s going to come at you. Last year we won and we really want to win again this time.

“But […] the big thing is the fun you have and the people you see once a year. I love the Race of Champions and I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”

Credit: Race of Champions

Lucas Blakeley, Jarno Opmeer, Martin Palm, and Michael Romanidis will battle on Friday to earn the two slots on Team eROC, who will then open the Nations Cup against Finland’s Valtteri Bottas and Mika Häkkinen. Opmeer and Blakeley comprised the sim racer team in 2022.

“I realize there’s not an ‘easy bracket’ at this event.. but wow,” remarked Team USA‘s Travis Pastrana. “I’ve never beat [Ekström] (arguably the best all around driver in the world) at anything in my life.. and if I do, I’ll move up against either my USA teammate [Tanner Foust] or 5 time world rallycross champion [Kristoffersson] .. oh well, had to race those guys at some point if we expected to win.. time to get one of the many dollars back that I’ve lost to Mattias!”

2023 Race of Champions drivers

TeamDriver #1Driver #2
All-StarsFelipe DrugovichThierry Neuville
eROCTBDTBD
FinlandValtteri BottasMika Häkkinen
FranceSébastien LoebAdrien Tambay
GermanyMick SchumacherSebastian Vettel
Great BritainJamie ChadwickDavid Coulthard
NordicTom KristensenFelix Rosenqvist
NorwayOliver SolbergPetter Solberg
SwedenMattias EkströmJohan Kristoffersson
USATanner FoustTravis Pastrana
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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