Schumacher defeated by Ekstrom in ROC

Tue, 18 December 2007, 01:25

Reigning Champion of Champions Mattias Ekström pulled off the seemingly impossible at Wembley Stadium, beating seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher in The Race of Champions final.

Taking the battle down to the wire, both motorsport heavy-weights claimed one win each in the best-of-three final.
DTM champion Ekstrom looked comfortable in the Solution F car as he comfortably beat Schumacher in the first round.

However, in a bid not to be upstaged, the German came out fighting in the next round, and through the Buggie round the Wembley circuit in record time to level things up.

As thousands of fans held their breath, the last heat saw Ekström build up a small lead over Schumacher who seemed uncomfortable in the Solution F saloon car.

Despite pulling out all the stops, it simply wasn’t to be and the German spun his car in a dash for the chequered flag, as Ekstrom crossed the line for his second win in a row.

“I didn’t start off very good but it’s turned out to be a nice event,” said Ekstrom. “At the end of the day everybody wants to win The ROC. To come here in front of all the spectators to this nice event, for me I really enjoy it every time.

“I wouldn’t say it’s that easy, whether it’s seven-time Formula 1 Champion or four-time Touring Car Champion, all of the drivers are very good. If you get your rhythm going, any one of them could win.

“The track layout was a bit more technical this time after France last year. The first turn on the outside was really demanding.”

Despite losing, Schumacher was simply pleased to be back racing and having a good time doing it.

“It has been truly quite a thrill! I’ve been here twice, and twice it has been a big pleasure. I wasn’t so good in the Solution F; there is something with me where I need to see my wheels! I’m no good if I don’t see them, I have been very bad in saloon cars in the past.

Earlier in the day, England fans cheered on local hero Andy Priaulx all the way to the semi-finals whilst Jenson Button lost out to an unwavering Schumacher in their second England versus Germany match up following the Nations Cup.

McLaren new-boy Heikki Kovalainen proved the ultimate showman as he revenged his earlier defeat with victory over Sebastian Vettel, beating the German F1 driver to even the scores.

However the Finn’s victory was short lived as the newly-signed McLaren F1 driver lost control of his car on the start/finish line in spectacular fashion during the next round against Priaulx, throwing his Aston Martin into the middle barriers.

Lawrence Barretto

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