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Schumacher and Vettel win ROC Nations Cup for Germany 17 Dec 2007

Sebastien Vettel (GER) and Michael Schumacher (GER) Race Of Champions, Wembley Stadium, England, 16 December 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Wembley stadium. Race Of Champions, Wembley Stadium, England, 16 December 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Mattias Ekstrom (SWE) and Michael Schumacher (GER) Race Of Champions, Wembley Stadium, England, 16 December 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and team mate Sebastian Vettel beat 2006 victors, Team Finland, to clinch the Nations Cup for Germany at this year’s Race of Champions (ROC). Swedish competitor and former DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom, meanwhile, won the final solo event to be crowned the 2007 ‘Champion of Champions’.

The annual showdown, which sees national teams of world-renowned drivers compete in a variety of machinery, took place at Wembley stadium in London on Sunday. Other Formula One drivers in action included Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen, Honda’s Jenson Button and Red Bull’s David Coulthard.

Initially it looked as though Team Finland had the edge in the finals with Kovalainen taking victory in the opening race, after Schumacher stalled on the start line. Toro Rosso driver Vettel, however, brought the German pair back into contention after a spectacular victory against world rally champion Marcus Gronholm. The twenty year-old then went on to win the third - and final - round to clinch the cup.

“I didn’t expect that,” explained Vettel. “I had a strong team mate in the beginning when I needed help. After that it was quite good. I raced against Marcus in his own car; so almost like in his living room! I was already putting together all my excuses; I didn’t expect to win at all!”

Schumacher also made it to the finals of the concluding ‘Champion of Champions’ event after beating four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais in the semi-finals. Despite winning one round against Ekstrom, the 38 year-old missed out on clinching the crown after spinning on the final corner of the concluding race. The German, however, is hoping to compete again next year.

“This is my first time racing after my retirement,” explained the former Ferrari driver. “In previous years if you race in F1 you have a lot of pressure. You are determined and focused and at this time of year, I just liked to switch off. Now it’s different so I’m open for fun events such as this. I hope I get an invitation next year!”