Sunday, 28 November 2010 03:28
Filipe Albuquerque delivered a thrilling performance to eclipse 15 superstars of motorsport and win the Race of Champions at his first attempt on an exciting afternoon in Düsseldorf.
In front of a packed ESPRIT arena the Portuguese driver overcame World Rally champion Sébastien Loeb 2-1 in the best of three Grand Final on the specially constructed parallel track to earn the title of Champion of Champions.
Following Team Germany's win last night in the ROC Nations Cup, The Race of Champions pitted 16 of the biggest names in motorsport against each other in head to head combat in a variety of different cars.
ROC South Europe winner Albuquerque's route to the final took him past Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel in a very tight semi-final following his quarter-final triumph against fellow Portuguese driver Alvaro Parente.
Loeb reached the Grand Final courtesy of a quarter-final win over eight time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen followed by victory against would touring car star Andy Priaulx in the powerful Audi R8 LMS.
In another quarter-final, an epic clash saw home favourites, and F1 rivals, Vettel and Schumacher clash in KTM X-Bows with victory going to the younger German by just over half a second.
Priaulx, the BMW World Touring Car driver, beat Bertrand Baguette in the other last eight tie.
Earlier today, the action began with a bang in the round-robin group stage, which featured four groups of four drivers fighting it out for the right to line up in the knock-out quarter-finals.
In the very first race of the day, Heikki Kovalainen suffered a huge accident after the chequered flag when his Audi R8 LMS ploughed through the barriers and hit the concrete wall hard.
The Formula 1 driver escaped injury but needed a precautionary visit to a local hospital for checks which prevented him taking any further part, resulting in his and Jeroen Bleekemolen's elimination from Group A as Loeb and Baguette progressed.
Group B saw motorcycling hero Mick Doohan miss out along with Travis Pastrana, who suffered a stall, a last corner defeat and a spin in his three races while Priaulx won all three races and went through with Kristensen.
It was close too in Group C, where Albuquerque and Vettel took the top two spots, knocking out NASCAR front runner Carl Edwards and X-Games gold medallist Travis Foust.
The final group of the first round featured an incredible combined 11 Formula 1 world championships and Schumacher beat Alain Prost by just over a second in a closely fought contest in the ROC Car.
Schumacher won all three first round races with Parente going through as runner up and 2010 British Touring Car Championship number one Jason Plato missing out, as did Prost, who spun out of his last race in the KTM X-Bow.
A total of 64,052 fans attended the Race of Champions over the course of the weekend.
Photographs courtesy Race of Champions Media
During the 2010 RoC this year Michele Mouton performed a demonstration run in her Audi Sport Quattro S1 and proceeded to park the car on its roof.
In the first event of the day, Lotus Racing Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen crashes the Audi R8 LMS after he crosses the finish line, with his girlfriend as the passenger in the car.
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