NOVEMBER 28, 2010
Vettel helps Germany to RoC win as Alburquerque beats the aces
GT racer and one-time Red Bull protege Filipe Albuquerque was a surprise winner of the Race of Champions - which pits stars from different motorsport disciplines against each other - in Dusseldorf, as Germany hosted the event for the first time. Albuquerque narrowly defeated rally ace and three-time RoC winner Sebastien Loeb.
New world champion Sebastian Vettel joined forces with Michael Schumacher to take the Nations Cup for Germany for the fourth consecutive time but both home favourites had to overcome a defeat in their first heats.
Albuquerque silenced the home crowd when he put out Vettel (who had eliminated Schumacher in the quarter final) in the semi-final. He and Loeb then had a win each in the first two legs of the final, before the 25-year-old Portuguese came out on top in the decider, aboard RoC buggies.
Loeb had beaten seven times Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen in the quarter finals and then triple world touring car ace Andy Priaulx in the semi - final. Kristensen was paired with Lotus Racing's Heikki Kovalainen as Team Nordic, but it was a less than happy event for the Finn. As Loeb narrowly beat him in the individual event, Kovalainen crashed the Audi R8 and suffered a heavy impact. His passenger at the time happened to be his girlfriend! Happily, both emerged unhurt...
"I am fine luckily, no injuries, and also my girlfriend is fine," Kovalainen said. "It was a major shunt and it started from the touch of the wall just before the finish line. I tried to use every inch of the circuit and I just kissed the wall. Then I was a passenger as I hit the wall at the first corner. It was a decent shunt."
There was further drama when event mastermind Michele Mouton rolled a classic Audi Quattro during a demonstration run - again without personal harm!