Tag Archives: Race Of Champions

F1Weekly podcast # 612



Romain Grosjean has been crowned the 2012 Champion of the Race of Champions after an emphatic performance in Bangkok.

Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher both failed to halt Romain’s march through the heats as he progressed through to the final against eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen in the event which pitches champions from the world of motorsport head-to-head against each other in a variety of machinery.

In a three-heat finale for the crown, the LotusF1 Team driver made the title certain with a win first in the ROC Buggy and next in the KTM X-Bow, meaning the crown was his without need for the final heat.

The win comes a day after Romain and Team France team-mate and 2011 Race of Champions Champion Sébastian Ogier came second to the Team Germany partnership of Vettel and Schumacher in the Race of Champions Nations Cup.

Romain Grosjean, 2012 Race of Champions Champion
“Champion of Champions sounds pretty good. It certainly feels pretty special to end my year like this. It wasn’t an easy route to the crown either ; I had Sebastian [Vettel] in the quarter-final then Michael [Schumacher] in the semi-final, then Tom Kristensen in the final. Between those three drivers you’ve got ten Formula 1 titles and eight Le Mans wins ! To win against these guys is very special indeed. It’s a really fabulous event and we received a fantastic welcome in Bangkok. It’s superb to be able to relax with so many different competitors from different disciplines and we all had a great time. It was great to see the support I received from fans at the event and online too, and this win goes out to them for supporting me in 2012. What a way to end my year, by winning my last competition of the season !”



Race Of Champions Romain


  • France’s Romain Grosjean lifts the Race Of Champions trophy after a Grand Final victory over Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen
  • Grand prix veterans Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard make it as far as the semi-finals
  • 2012 F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel knocked out in the quarter-finals for the second year in a row

French Formula 1 star Romain Grosjean put in a stunning performance to eclipse 15 fellow superstars of motorsport and win the Race Of Champions on an evening of thrills at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium.

Following Team Germany’s victory over Team France in last night’s ROC Nations Cup, the Race Of Champions pitted many of the biggest names in motorsport against each other in head-to-head combat in a variety of different cars.

In the end Grosjean overcame Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in the best-of-three Grand Final to become Champion of Champions for the first time. Kristensen, who also reached the final last year, was chasing his own first individual Race Of Champions title at the 12th attempt. But he was thwarted by the young Frenchman, who won both heats to seal glory.

Grosjean said: “That’s what I’d call a crazy day! It got a bit tough in the group stages but I managed to make it through. Then I had to face Sebastian Vettel in the quarter-final before Michael Schumacher in the semi-final – the two Germans who beat us in yesterday’s ROC Nations Cup final. Then I had the final with Tom. We’ve had a good history at this event and I’ve raced him before so it was good to face him in the final. I got a bit of extra luck to be in the right car at the right time but it felt good.

“It’s been a tough end to the F1 season but I finally got back on the podium yesterday, and now this! It’s great to get this win before I head off for a holiday. Thanks to everyone in Thailand because the welcome has been fantastic.”

Beaten finalist Kristensen has competed in 12 Race Of Champions events, more than anyone else in the field. The 45-year-old Dane nonetheless hopes to be back for more.

“This was the 25th year of the race and Romain is a deserving winner,” said Kristensen. “He had a very good Sunday – and I’m getting closer every year! It was a small gap between us in each of the heats and I made small mistakes but that’s the challenge of the Race Of Champions: to jump into different cars. Earlier I had a pretty fun run in the Audi against Ogier. I believe that was the fastest lap of the weekend so that’s what I’ll take away. Even though I’m a bit more than 25 years old like Romain, it shows I’m still pretty fast if I’m in a good car. This has been the warmest Race Of Champions I have competed in – both literally and thanks to the people who welcomed us and enjoyed having us here. I’m still young so maybe one day I’ll get the chance to win it!”

Michael Schumacher seemed to be continuing where he left off last night as he went undefeated until the semi-final stage. There he came up against an inspired Grosjean and his quest for the individual ROC title faltered again. Schumacher’s fellow F1 old-timer David Coulthard was beaten by Kristensen in the other semi-final.

After sharing in Schumacher’s success last night, 2012 F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in the individual quarter-finals for the second year in a row, also by Grosjean. Facing a tight battle, Vettel made a mistake and hit the barrier hard.

Another big scalp at the quarter-final stage was last year’s Champion of Champions Sébastien Ogier, beaten by Kristensen in a reverse of the result of last year’s Grand Final. Coulthard defeated China’s Ho-Pin Tung while Schumacher overcame 500cc MotoGP legend Mick Doohan in the other quarter-finals.

To start the evening the drivers were split into four groups of four, battling for the right to line up in the knockout stages.

Reigning champion Ogier began in dominant fashion, taking three wins out of three in Group A. Coulthard also progressed thanks to his two wins against V8 Supercar king Jamie Whincup and Production World Rally Champion Benito Guerra. Whincup beat Guerra but neither driver made it any further.

Tung was the surprise package of Group B. After falling to an initial defeat against touring car great Andy Priaulx, the Chinese driver recovered to top the group, beating Kristensen and home favourite Nattavude Charoensukawattana. The Thai prompted one of the night’s biggest cheers when he defeated Priaulx, meaning the last quarter-final berth was decided by a shootout between Kristensen and Priaulx. That went to the Dane when a mechanical problem sent Priaulx into the barriers.

Vettel made a predictably strong start, romping to three wins out of three including a victory over 2012 MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo. Group C also included another legend of two wheels in Doohan, who defeated Lorenzo in their heat. The Thai crowd went wild as Tin Sritrai beat Lorenzo and crossed the line ahead of Doohan, only to miss out on qualification due to a time penalty.

Schumacher and Grosjean both progressed comfortably from Group D – but it was the German who came out on top this time to keep his undefeated record intact with three wins to Grosjean’s two. 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay took a single victory against Kazuya Ohshima, Japan’s qualifier from ROC Asia, but it wasn’t enough to keep the American in the competition.




Triple V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup and five-time 500cc MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan will compete for Team Australia at the 2012 Race Of Champions in Bangkok, Thailand Whincup, fresh from victory in last weekend’s classic Bathurst 1000, will make his ROC debut while Doohan returns for his fifth appearance The Australian duo join a field featuring Formula 1 world champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for ROC 2012 on December 14-16
Team Australia will have a star-studded pairing for the 2012 Race Of Champions as triple V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup lines up alongside motorcycling legend Mick Doohan at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on December 14-16.

The end-of-season contest, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012, brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, Indycar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 15 December, before the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 16 December.

Whincup has dominated Australia’s popular V8 Supercar series of late, taking the title in 2008, 2009 and 2011. He also leads this year’s championship after he took victory in the classic Bathurst 1000 for the fourth time at the weekend, this time by just 0.3s. Now he will become the first Aussie V8 racer to appear at the Race Of Champions, earning the chance to take on motor sport’s biggest names from all over the globe.

Doohan is of course better known for his exploits on two wheels following a career including over 50 wins and five straight 500cc MotoGP world championships in the Nineties. But he knows how to handle four-wheeled machinery too and this will be his fifth appearance at a Race Of Champions event.

Doohan will team up with Whincup in a ROC Nations Cup field that already features a total of nine Formula 1 world championships courtesy of Team Germany’s Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, who also took victory in last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. They will be joined by plenty more motor sport legends in the run-up to December’s event in Bangkok.

Whincup said: “Having watched all the greatest racing drivers compete and have so much fun driving world class cars on my television from Down Under, I couldn’t be any more excited about participating for my first time at the Race Of Champions in Bangkok this December. Being a ROC virgin I am not setting my expectations too high but I will have some fun and hope my big Aussie V8 experience helps me.”

Doohan said: “I’m looking forward to racing with Jamie for Team Australia as we only live a kilometre away from each other on the Gold Coast. The Race Of Champions is a fun event where it’s friendly off the track but the goodwill evaporates when we’re waiting to blast away from the start line. As usual I’ll be aiming to prove that anyone underestimating us bikers is making a big mistake…”

Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson added: “We’re delighted to have Team Australia back in the ROC Nations Cup for the first time since 2009. Mick is a true legend of his sport who always gives the car specialists a run for their money and we are very excited to have Jamie on board. We are always looking to expand ROC’s horizons and this is the first time we will have a V8 Supercar champion in our field. It will be fascinating to see how they get on against the world’s best racers in Bangkok.”

After recent visits to London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium (2009) and Dusseldorf’s ESPRIT arena (2010-2011), ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Built for the 1998 Asian Games, the 50,000-capacity stadium has since hosted Thailand’s home football matches plus athletics, pop concerts and even political rallies.

Drivers confirmed for the 2012 Race Of Champions so far:

  • Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion (Team Germany)
  • Sebastian VETTEL, Formula 1 World Champion 2011, 2010 (Team Germany)
  • Ryan HUNTER-REAY, IndyCar Series Champion 2012 (Team USA)
  • Jamie WHINCUP, V8 Supercar Champion 2011, 2009, 2008 (Team Australia)
  • Mick DOOHAN, five-time 500cc MotoGP World Champion (Team Australia)