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Home heroes, Schumacher and Team Nordic all star in 2019 Race of Champions
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Posted By: Editor   |  22 Jan 2019   |  12:27 pm GMT  |  77 comments

Mexican rallying star Benito Guerra was crowned as the 2019 Champion of Champions at this year’s Race of Champions, with impressive performances from old hands, up-and-coming talents and the reigning eROC winner.

The annual event, in which dozens of the top drivers from the world of motorsport compete against each other in identical machinery – such as the VUHL 05 ROC Edition 2019, Ariel Atom Cup, Stadium Super Truck, RX, Speed SXS UTV and KTM X-Bow – was held in the stadium of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City.

The contest had two representatives of the current Formula One field; Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly.

The ever-competitive Team Germany – this time with Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari F1 colleague Mick Schumacher – made it through to the Nations Cup final, but were beaten by the legendary racing drivers of Team Nordic; Tom Kristensen and Johan Kristoffersson.

In the three-heat final, Vettel lost out to Kristensen, with Schumacher pulling a heat back against Kristoffersson, but nine-time Le Mans winner Kristensen was too strong for Schumacher in the final heat, securing the win for Team Nordic.

Pierre Gasly formed one-half of Team France (partnering Le Mans winner Loic Duval), but they failed to make it out of the group stages.

In the individual Race of Champions contest – which also included David Coulthard, Josef Newgarden and Andy Priaulx – Mexico’s Guerra beat both Formula One drivers to reach the semi-final and set up an all-Mexican contest with former F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez, which he won to reach the final.

He faced Loic Duval in the three-heat final, but only required two heats to take the 2019 crown.

Pierre Gasly had progressed to the knock-out stages, but was beaten by Guerra in the quarter-finals. Vettel, meanwhile, was unable to make it out of the groups stages after defeats by Guerra and Schumacher.

In other upsets, last year’s winner in the sim racing ROC contest, Enzo Bonito, claimed wins against well-established drivers.

Bonito – who will be competing for McLaren in the F1 eSports Series – took a win against Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Raey in the group stages of the individual ROC competition, and defeated Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi in the Nations Cup.

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Race of Champions

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1

Perhaps Vettel could have done a bit better with a slight weight reduction, like losing that terrible top lip dressing.

2

Was Loeb there.Didn”t think so maybe at Dakar

3

Is there anything so stupid as calling this rally the “Dakar’ when it is totally confined to South America?

4

The organizers (and also many of the drivers) have romantic dreams and hopes about it coming back to its original locations, namely as the name says: Departure from Paris and finish line in Dakar! Personally I still miss the long-haul desert racing etapes in Sahara that gave us compared to the South American version.

5

Dakar is the trademark Kenneth as you well know.
No Dakar due to the risk of opportunistic kidnappers & terrorist squads having easy access to western drivers and riders.
Though the name should now be the Samba Rally or the Aztec Rambler or the Mauling Mayan Rally.

6

@ BKF….There is nothing stopping them shelving the title ‘Dakar’. It is silly to continue with this sham as it has absoluteley no relevance in either geo location of specific features germane to the original race. IIRC the full title was the ‘Paris -Dakar rally.

7

It was called “Paris – Dakar Rally” because the race went from Paris to Dakar.

However, that was back in the days when things generally made sense. Sadly we don’t live in those days anymore.

8

Yes, but we live in confused times.

For example, it’s called f1 racing, when in fact it’s f1 fuel saving.

9

In 2013 the engines were really close

@LukeC

Choosing 2013 as your example rather proves my point, doesn’t it? Vettel won that championship with 3 races (iirc) to spare after a 4 year period of dominance from Red Bull. In what way is that better than we have now? ? What difference does it make if the power output is similar, but one of the teams has such an aero advantage that the opposition get blown away?

ps

Choosing Alonso and McLaren to prove your point is also not helping your cause – the McLaren had the same PU as Red Bull last season. I don’t think that power output was at the root of the McLaren woes. In fact they should have stuck with Honda and then at least they could have still blamed the PU, but choosing a Renault donk rather showed them in their true light, their chassis was hopeless.

10

TimW,

The companies no longer wanted to make them because a few bright sparks deep in bowels of their marketing departments thought that by saving a bit of fuel they would virtue signal to such an impressive effect that everybody would rush out and buy a Prius.

That didn’t happen and these PUs are still not right for f1, just like they weren’t right in 2014.

Time to come up with a new marketing strategy — one that’s aligned with aims of f1 as a sporting contest and as a spectacle.

11

Luke, surely it’s you with the blind spot! The companies who made those lively V8s didn’t want to make them anymore, that’s basically the end of it.

12

C63,

No I’m not proposing a spec series at all. Nor am I proposing a solution to the aero disparity; it’s not my Job to solve those problems.

Bottom line is this: there already was plenty of performance disparity stemming form aero, so why introduce an additional source of disparity stemming from the PUs, especially since there was so much parity on the engine front prior to PUs.

I really don’t see why I have to keep explaining this over and over again.

Do people have some kind of blind spot on the PU situation where they can’t see that that these PUs are completely wrong for F1?

13

all they had to do was fix the aero disparity

@LukeC

I had to laugh when I read that. It sounds so simple doesn’t it?

So, are you saying that you would prefer a spec series – if you are then F1 is not for you I’m afraid. The very DNA of the sport is that teams manufacturer their own cars and it’s inevitable when this happens that some will do a better job than others. Maybe that’s why they have a constructors championship to reward and recognise those who do the best job.

As for you citing Alonso/McLaren as an example of all that is wrong with the current formula – how much better do you think they would have done if they had a Mercedes PU in the back of their car these last couple of seasons? One place higher the final standings…maybe?

14

How is the Alonso and mclaren example not helping my case?

Both mclaren and red bull had GP 2 engines, but red bull were able to compensate for the deficit with aero to some extent and mclaren were not. That’s all.

15

It was better than what we have now because the engines were much, much, much closer in terms of bhp output than they are now. We certainly didn’t have gp2 engines trying to compete with f1 engines.

The result is that all they had to do was fix the aero disparity and the competition would have been as close and as intense as you wouldn’t belive. But with the PUs you now not only have to fix the aero problems, but you also have to fix the PU problems, so you’ve multiplied your problems by 200%. And you know how they struggle to fix even the simplest problems, even when they try really hard, and they don’t want to touch the PUs because they are sacrosant, or something… I don’t really understand it, to be honest.

16

@LukeC

Did you know, it was one of the Cosworth founders, back in the FISA days, who first came up with the idea of restricting fuel flow (energy available to the engine) as a method of evening out the competition?

17

Luke C
FA and a GP2 engine that’s just utter piffle😆.
It’s an F1 engine, it’s signed, sealed and run under F1 regulations.
The horse power still achieved success for Red Bull they won a few races with the Renault engine. Their design and chassis were superior to McLaren.
The main design flaw for McLaren over the last 2/3 seasons, was the whole car designs were duds, & too tight for the Honda engine. Honda had to find ways to put their engine into the allocated space. Just didn’t mesh well.
Then with Renault it was again the car design. Hence they sacked some of their design team. McLaren are now full of excuses. They should’ve just gone with the Merc engine and remember they also had a good car in their last run with a Mercedes engine.
It all fell apart when Ron couldn’t/wouldn’t pay stock price for the Merc engines.

18

@BK

Fuel saving (and tyre management) has been going on since forever. It’s just those who don’t like the smaller PU’s, that we currently have, conveniently choose to forget that and use it as a stick to beat the current formula with.

19

… races would frequently be won by over 30 seconds …

There are 26 instances in F1 where the winner lapped the entire field. The last such instance was when Damon Hill’s V10-powered Williams lapped the entire field twice (!) at the 1995 Australian GP. The biggest ever F1 crowd – to that point – showed up at Adelaide’s final GP, and got treated to that borefest! I’m sure that helped F1 greatly in the years following. 😉

https://www.statsf1.com/en/statistiques/gp/ecart/leplus.aspx

The percentage of cars finishing in the winner’s lap is exponentially higher now than it was before the turn of the century. Both against total starts or total finishes.

20

C63,

In 2013 the engines were really close. There really was nothing between them.

Enter 2014 PU formula and we have GP 2 engines racing f1 engines.

21

Your ‘problem’ Luke (if I can call it that) is that you just don’t like the current small displacement engines. You like bigger and louder V8’s, V10’s etc. Fair enough, that’s your prerogative. The snag, though, is that you appear to have convinced yourself that in the days when they ran V8’s, V10’s etc everything was perfect; there were no dominant teams and each race was a nail biter. That just wasn’t so, not by a long way. There were periods of massive dominance in the past and races would frequently be won by over 30 seconds with the winner often lapping slower cars twice, but because they had loud engines you don’t appear to mind it. Is that a fair point or am I misreading the situation ?

22

C63
restricting fuel flow wouldn’t have made ant difference to likes of Jim Clark. He was reknowned for fuelling light.
Even turning the engine off then bump starting the Lotus on the longer circuits. While maintaining speed around corners.
J Stewart couldn’t believe it until he heard Jim Clarks engine fire up again. Cosworth engines are built to be man handled. Jim Clark used every avenue to come up ahead of the game. Fuel saving was going on back in the Killer Years of F1 . The edge is always to exploit the advantage, but you have to have, the skill to know how to use it effectively.

23

Yeah C63, don’t you remember the thrilling end to the 2013 season?

24

Did it work?

On the evidence of what we’ve been seeing since 2014 the answer has to be a resounding no.

Just ask Fernando Alonso, who has been competing against F1 cars with a GP2 engine while driving for one of the most successful teams of all time.

25

Touché ! ;o)

26

This diversity is a good thing I guess.

But what if they only had one kind of car?

Say, a big-ole-loud-Camero with a v8. . . .

27

..then Colin Bond would rule the world 🙂

28

… don’t you mean Kevin Bartlett?

29

@ Mick…I met Kevin Bartlett quite a few times as i used him for promotions when my company first the videos of the James Hardie 1000 races. He was a nice guy, a bit rough and ready, and i was in his pit at the Hardie 1000 ’81 at one stage as a guest. Bathurst in those days was simply brilliant.Dirty, noisy and hectic. In ’76 i was. a guest of my pal Ron Hodson who won the race at the death knell with Bob Morris in the Torana. Fun days.

30

Hopefully no serious back or other injuries this time. This race is almost more hazardous than F1.

31

It is certainly more fun and entertaining to watch than F1!

32

@CharlieW

Do you really think so? I try tuning in each year, and give up after about fifteen minutes. The track is too small and the cars are too slow for my taste.

33

Agreed C63, for tv it doesn’t work at all. You need to be there in person! It is the atmosphere, its the proximity with the drivers, its the roaring engines and vehicles passing by just an armlength away from your place, its the smell or burned petrol and the noise. And for that they make a good show and you are fairly well entertained and treated throughout!
Most of this is gone for the ‘ordinary F1 spectator’ going to a F1 race these modern times.

34

@CharlieW

I’m with KRB – an arm length away? Are you sure about that? I’d bet the RoC cars aren’t any closer to the spectators than the F1 cars. As for entertainment value, that’s a subjective matter and one mans meat is another mans poison, each to his own. But it would be F1 for me every-time – either, at the track or on TV. It’s not even close.

35

An armlength? Can you post any video or photo that shows any car at the RoC passing a mere arm’s length by any spectator (marshal’s don’t count obviously)?

Picking your words properly is important to making your point.

36

Gosh well done the Mexican 👏👍
Never watched it !
Never bothered when it was on !
Vettel well what can I say 😱
They are really selling the Mick Schumacher Dream 😥
Just hope it doesn’t fall flat like “unt lead balloon ja !!”
Well that’s another Race of Champions done and dusted.
Watched it one time and I never watched it again.
The Mens Downhill Skiing from weekend gone on the fastest downhill run , much more entertaining.

37

The Wengen DH event? Made my legs burn, just watching it…!
Was hoping that Feuz could stop the Austrian steamroller, but wasn’t to be.

38

Yep Redline serious leg burner, it was an awesome downhill.
Kitzbuel next which will be just as awesome. Though Wengen is the fastest downhill. Sadly it was too warm for the surface to get icy enough for the speed. Think record still stands at 105 mph which is mad ⛷
Mega gutsy for any downhill skier. Just to complete it , is a badge of honour.
Lillihammer also not too bad either. Bobsleigh also, one for high adrenaline viewing.

39

Very pleased with the Kitzbuehel result – Paris is turning into a bit Streif specialist. Nice to see the Tricolore on top of the podium again 🙂 Its one hell of a piste – can’t imagine skiing down at half the speed those guys do! Big, big cojones…

This week its quite cold and stable here in the Alps – there is not an awful lot of snow but the conditions are sweet. Looking forward to a few pistes this weekend 🙂

40

For someone who never watched it you have a lot to say about it. Are you reveling in your own ignorance?

41

Vettel didn’t make it out of the group stages? Did he spin……?

42

Well, well… Your hero is too chicken to attend it, isn’t he?
You better believe it, I see a superior smile or not.
Vettel has won many ROCs.
He is not afraid to participate, be it win or failure.
He is just a normal guy.What is not to like about that.

43

100% AlanF1

44

I bet you were disappointed that Alonso was ‘too chicken to attend’ davey?

45

I don’t think Hamilton would be chicken against anybody. He just chooses not to attend. Fair play to Vettel for giving it a go, but Hamilton has nothing to prove.

46

AlanF1, yes Lewis was too chicken to attend, just like Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Vandoorne, Hülkenberg, Sainz, Grosjean, Magnussen, Perez, Ocon, Stroll, Sirotkin, Kubica, Albon, Kvyat, Giovinazzi, Leclerc, Ericsson, Hartley,Norris and Russell……

47

It’s the offseason, Raikkonen has beer to drink. As for the others I don’t know what excuses they have.

48

Lenny, I don’t think they need one, Iroc is just one of many events that they didn’t attend.

49

Perhaps fashion shows, and hanging out with rap “stars” is more fulfilling than petro-adrenalin fuelled competition?

50

Adrenalin ?
Check out the surfing, that’s got more adrenaline than a Super Mario type tournament, that is as entertaining as a bout of Ebola.
You might as well do a raft race down the rapids, at least your not sitting in front of a low spectator event or paying for it behind a paywall.

51

I don’t know. Was it damp?

52

Luke, maybe the humidity was too high…

53

Wish the ROC stayed at Wembley for a few more years, it was a fun day out…

…emphasis on “fun”, i.e. not to be taken as a serious barometer of F1 talent.

54

You Hams fans are one of kind. Nothing personal, serious.
And you are always …right.
By the way, who said ROC was a proof of skills? Or barometer…
it is a funny competition indeed. Not everybody has the …guts to attend it.
Still interesting, kind of same guys are systematically winning.
And yes, winning F1 with the best car is not a proof of skills either.
Remember Ham as a driver until Mercedes era.
Enjoy 2019, another two Mercedes (!) championships.

55

@AlanF1

You anti Ham fans are one of a kind. You could say pretty much the same thing about Vettel and Red bull, Alonso and Renault, Schumacher and Ferrari, Prost/Senna and McLaren, Prost, Hill, Villeneuve, Mansell and Williams etc etc etc.

56

https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2015/11/f1-star-sebastian-vettel-wins-race-of-champions-in-londons-olympic-stadium/

Feast on some of those comments.

And yes, a mere 90% of the current F1 field didn’t have the “guts” to compete in the Race of Champions and take on the mighty field, including defending champion David Coulthard. What a bunch of cowards.

And no, winning in the best car isn’t proff of skills. Winning in at worst an equal car by over three race wins is. Beating the double reigning world champion as a rookie is. Winning world titles in two different teams is. Having the all time pole record is. Winning five world titles over a span of 11 seasons is. Need any more?

57

Yes more needed. Like winning in a car that is not the nest. That makes a true champion

58

Like winning in a car that is not the nest (sic)

@little david

As Hamilton has achieved that already, are you prepared to acknowledge his status as a ‘true’ champion (whatever that is)? Or is there some reason why it didn’t count when he did it?

59

Not the best, y’meant? He’s done that twice now, in 2008 & 2018. You can make the argument for 2017 too, but it’s not as clear cut as the first two.

I believe Hamilton would’ve won in the Ferrari in both 2017 & 2018. Others like Mark Hughes believe the same. We’re into the area now where we need to ask how much better does the Ferrari need to be, to be able to take Vettel to a championship? I think last year’s car, with a normal season of driving, would have done it, though the gap was 88 pts! Yes, many of his mistakes led to very big points swings (32 in Germany alone of course), but he’s had those pressure-induced mistakes before (Canada ’11 last lap anyone?) even in his “better” seasons of driving. It’s just there he had a big car advantage to help cover for him.

The debate as to which driver is better, between Hamilton and Vettel, has long since been put to bed. I wouldn’t go to the lengths that Irvine recently went, ‘cos he’s just an idiot, but Hamilton is clearly ahead of Vettel.

60

What like 2008? Or arguably last year? Already checked off.

Thank you, next.

61

Lol, right on cue AlanF1!

The same guys winning? Do you mean David Coulthard?!

Vettel has entered how many times? He’s only won the individual competition once. The same number as Heikki Kovalainen, Felipe Albuquerque, and Romain Grosjean. All one less than the aforementioned Coulthard.

This year a Mexican won it, when it was in Mexico City. That’s pretty convenient, eh?

Hamilton before Mercedes? I think beating the 2x reigning WDC as his rookie teammate, leading to that driver’s rushed escape from the team, was quite extraordinary stuff. Then winning in 2008 without the best car … the last WDC in a non-WCC car, after all. Last year was another win without the best car of course … it’s just that Vettel’s mistakes stopped Ferrari from winning the WCC.

62

@ KRB You’re dreaming if you believe that Mercedes was not the dominant car over the entire season.

63

You’re dreaming if you believe that Mercedes was not the dominant car over the entire season.

And you’re dreaming kenneth, if you think it was. How do you account for Ferrari drivers finishing 2nd and 3rd in the championship, whilst Mercedes drivers finished 1st and 5th?

It can’t have been all that dominant a car if ‘everyones Grandma’ could win a championship in it but Bottas could only secure 5th,

something doesn’t add up there…….Ooh, I know what it is. You’re not giving Hamilton any credit for his near flawless season and you’re overlooking Vettel’s error strewn one. Am I getting warm?

64

Guess I and many others are dreaming then!!

Last year’s Mercedes was not a dominant car. It took Hamilton to get the results over Vettel in it. Swap seats, and Hamilton still beats Vettel, likely by an even greater margin.

65

Kenneth, and of course we’re all dreaming if we think you have any intention of backing up that claim…..

66

AlanF1, I’m sure we all remember Lewis before he was a Mercedes driver, a world champion with 26 poles and 21 wins…..

67

AlanF1 nothing personal. Always with the personal from you 😉

68

Gotta love it when some posters consider it as a pure test of talent. I saw one bright bulb claiming Hamilton’s absence from the RoC as proof that he was scared of being shown up, etc.

It takes a special sort, I tell ya …

69

Krb, “bright bulb” coffee through nose moment…..

70

Appears he posted before getting down to my comment, because it couldn’t have been a better example of what I was talking about.

71

I remember when Vettel won it in 2015, people claimed Hamilton was running scared and because Ricciardo was competing it was redemption for 2014 😀

72

KRB it’s not exactly high end entertainment. RoC is Bordering on a Stag do day out for Kangool wearing teenagers with a bridegroom called Trev and his mates Alfie Jeb Kev and Bev as she’s one of the crew. It’s really dire. Saw a clip on Autosport still looks “cough” tacky.

73

I enjoyed it when I went 🙄

74

…unlike the Top Gear Reasonably Priced Car Challenge…:)

75

Watched it once for about 10 minutes and then gave it the flick….Boring as batpoo.

76

Exactly Kenneth it’s like “It’s A Knockout ” with motorised vehicles. Rather diluted in content and well, I assume, it keeps the likes of ‘tiny d’ interested. While he’s having his rear powdered with DDT by the HazMat Team & deloused of sheep ticks from his last contact with the herd.

77

Didn’t you read the story? Vettel didn’t win the crown. Of course it’s a barometer.

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