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Kovalainen confirmed for Race of Champions 09 Oct 2007

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Friday, 5 October 2007 L-R: Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) and team mate Marcus Gronholm (FIN) won the nations title for Finland. Race of Champions, Stade de France, Paris, France, 16 December 2006. © ROC. 2004 ROC Champion Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), World Series by Nissan driver, Team RDD, (right) and runner up Sebastien Loeb (FRA), WRC driver, Team Citroen Sport, (left). Race of Champions, Stade de France, Paris, France, 4 December 2004. World © Race of Champions Copyright Free

Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen has announced he will participate in this year’s Race of Champions (ROC) event. The annual contest, which sees world-renowned drivers compete in a variety of machinery, will take place in December at London’s recently-reopened Wembley stadium.

Kovalainen, who scored his first Formula One podium finish this month in Japan, competed at last year’s event, narrowly missing out on the ROC title but clinching the Nations Cup alongside fellow Finn and world rally champion Marcus Gronholm. Back in 2004 he did take the driver prize, edging out Formula One legend Michael Schumacher.

“Beating Michael was a very nice thing for me,” explained Kovalainen, who had won the World Series by Nissan that season. “I remember watching him race against Ayrton Senna when I was still in karts so to beat him on a level playing field was quite unbelievable and the reaction from all the fans in the stadium when I climbed on the roof of the car was incredible!

“Driving so close to so many fans creates a very special atmosphere and I’m really looking forward to race in Wembley Stadium. Last year I lost in the semi-finals by just 0.0002 seconds against Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom who went on to win the Race of Champions, so I’m really motivated to try to take back the title I won in 2004.”

Crowds are expected to number 80,000 at the British stadium when the action gets underway on December 16. Michael Schumacher, Red Bull’s David Coulthard and Honda’s Jenson Button are also confirmed for the event.