Going into battle today we have Germany, France, Nordic, Great Britain, USA, All Stars, Portugal and Benelux.
I didn't know what Benelux was - apparently it's an economic union between Belgium, Netherlands and Luxumberg. Learn something new every day, you know.
I'm pretty sure All Stars is not a nation.
Would you like to know what drivers will be appearing also? Go on, then. You've twisted my arm.
First up, we have Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. They won it last year for Team Germany, so are back defending their title.
Team France = Alain Prost and Sébastien Loeb.
Team Nordic = Tom Kristensen and Heikki Kovalainen.
Comment from RG: The All Stars in the Nations Cup is basically like the Unicorns in English cricket, they couldn't find enough teams so they made one up to make up the numbers.
Team GB = Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato
Team USA = Travis Pastrana and Carl Edwards
A photo from @stephen_kremer showing the track ahead of the action.
Team Portugal = Alvaro Parente and Filipe Alberqueque
Team Benelux = Bertrand Baguette and Jeroen Bleekemolen
Wait a minute. Albuquerque.
That's a hard one to type.
That being the case, I've decided Edwards is my favourite.
The Nations will be split into two groups A and B, with a round robin competition in the first instance, leading to knockout semi-finals and the big final.
Group A comprises France, Nordic, Portugal and GB, whilst Group B has Germany, USA, All Stars and Benelux.
Comment from Lukeh: Katherine has told us to cheer on team nordic so they are my team of choice. Go Heikki!
For anyone watching online, the live stream has started. There are cheerleaders waving their pompoms. Interesting.
The drivers are completing their parade - each Nation driven in a car with yet more cheerleaders and pompoms waving.
They are carrying flags, which is quite useful, but most cars have two different flags in which makes a bit of a mockery of the concept!
Team Nordic - Heikki and Tom.
I think there will be a variety of cars, as per usual. The only one I can recall is the X-Factor one.
Schumacher is driving his and Vettel's car - one of the X-Bow ones. He pauses for a moment to do a donut for the crowd.
Being held in Düsseldorf, and being defending champs, you can imagine that the Schumi/Vettel combo are quite popular.
The drivers hop out of their cars and are now posing on the stage for a group photo.
I seem to recall Tanner Foust being pretty popular in previous years. Maybe because of his drifting abilities.
Vettel did take a passenger around the course earlier, and manage to bin it on the crossover section. Urgent repairs were needed, and probably a strong cup of tea for the passenger!
@MartinHaven: The two Sebs - our newest World Champions, sharing a joke and VET admits to organiser Fredrik Jonsson, 'I'm so tired'
A cold looking Heikki rubs his hands, either in preparation, or just to keep warm.
Schumacher looks very relaxed and happy.
Prost comments to Heikki about the cold. Must be pretty chilly.
They are playing the ROC theme now. I must say "the R, the O, the C" actually haunts my dreams.
Electric cars to take to the track for the first time, this year.
Apparently, Portugal won their appearance here by winning a different Race of Champions. I didn't realise there was qualifying!
USA vs Germany coming up first.
Actually, that's a lie. It is Prost vs Heikki.
|Alain Prost||Heikki Kovalainen|
This is the Solution F Prototype.
I imagine you're just going to see a lot of green flag, chequered flags now. It all happens quite quickly.
The nature of the track also makes it hard to judge where they are until the end, but it looks like Heikki is ahead at the moment.
They cross the start finish line four times. I may introduce the lap counter next time round!
|Sebastien Loeb||Tom Kristensen|
These are Porsche 911's. They look faster than the previous ones.
It's close as they cross the line the second time. Loeb may be slightly ahead.
Loeb wins! One all between Nordic and France.
I'm not sure what is happening now.
They are just taking their places.
Back to the Solution Fs.
Portugal had a rocking start.
It's a six-speed gearbox in the cars, but you rarely get out of second around here. So says Martin Haven.
Parente is ahead, and Plato makes a mistake, losing the back end over the bridge.
One to Portugal.
Back in the Porsche cars once more. I like these ones better.
GB need to win this one. Priaulx looks ahead right now.
Haven says these cars are really grippy at the back and you have to be brutal with them.
Priaulx wins by miles, well over two seconds.
Something is leaking in the Porsche, apparently. Priaulx is leaving a wet line on the inside lane.
They're showing replays of the last race now, presumably while the next group get ready. Who will be next though? I have no idea.
Are we doing deciders? Each team has a win so far.
It's almost like the last four races were a waste of time, but I would never say such a thing. 'hem.
Replays show Priaulx hit the kerb and that's caused some possible radiator damage, hence the leaking. He did well to win from that!
Andy's victory lap.
The officials are just checking the kerbing, which looks okay.
It's not water on track, but coolant, which is more slippery on track. I worry for who takes that track next time.
We have lost our video stream. This could be a problem.
Unfortunately I cannot tell you anything. We were reliant on the Freecaster stream which has failed. Bear with us.
It doesn't look like it's coming back anytime soon, either. Oh well.
We appear to be back, but I have no idea what we've missed.
They are in a Chiroco? Chirroco? One of them is orange, anyways.
Scirocco. WHAT IS THAT??
I missed a green flag. Oops.
These cars do have cool LEDs that show whether they have used push to pass or not.
Kovalainen wins. Don't know what that means, but well done Heikki!
Comment from lou: @fbfb Team GB have done enough to get through to the next round.
These are some weirdo FJ-Racing cars.
They look pretty slippery, these cars.
I missed the green flag again! Damn.
Alburquerque wins! I still can't spell his name. Gah.
Now we're on a tie-break between Nordic and Portugal, it seems.
The driver with the biggest winning gap will go through, I think.
Portugal have a puncture!
Ah, he has broken a drive shaft. Automatic win for France.
Assuming Prost gets to the end, of course.
Replays show Parante lost control going under the bridge and smacked into the wall.
He may or may not have had a puncture or a mechanical problem which caused him to lose control, rather than driver error.
Audi cars up next.
They have a camera on the rear wing, which is an incredible view.
Loeb may be slightly ahead.
A win for France.
At the circuit, they're still undecided how to deal with tiebreakers. It's hard to live comment and fathom something that the organisers don't know either.
These are the X-Bows again.
They are in the Audis, again.
Martin Haven just said they are not quite "squirting it towards the corner." Not sure what that means but it doesn't sound pleasant.
Priaulx is looking strong here.
Easy win for Team GB there.
Tweet from @RaceOfChampions: Priaulx is flying in the Audi! Team Great Britain is through with 4 wins! #ROC #raceofchampions
Terry Grant is on track now, the man drives this little car round, does donuts, climbs in and out and is generally quite mental!
Group 1 is done. Apparently.
Comment from Lukeh: He walked away! From his car! that was driving itself! It's like The terminator is coming to life in front of our eyes
Great Britain and France are through to the semi-finals. Team Nordic are third, and Portugal last.
Terry Grant is still out there, doing his stuff. All I can hear is tyres squealing.
I am staggered by the lack of structure this event has! I think we'll be moving on to Group B now though.
They are in the ROC cars. Bit buggy-like. Schumi looks ahead right now.
Schumacher wins by miles.
Tweet from @jasonplato: Lost out big time when parente crashed the ktm, they wheeled out a new for me with cold Tyres, bugger
They're in this Schicaro things again.
Both are using the boost on the start line, but Vettel uses it over the bridge.
That was the closest we've seen for ages. Pastrana gets it.
He saved his last boost to cross the line, great driving to beat Vettel.
Comment from RG: Pastrana for Red Bull.
Interview with Pastrana: "There was not single person in the stands who was cheering at the end of the race. That's my goal!"
Doohan has hit the wall at least three times now. He'll likely get a penalty or two.
Baguette wins for Benelux.
They were driving the ROC buggies, which I have to admit look quite ridiculous.
Sirocco's again. Push to pass is back.
Foust is in the orange car, and it's looking close.
Foust uses his boosts up very quickly.
That was epically close, and it looks like Bleekemolen got the win.
0.0406 seconds between the two.
That was the very definition of a photo finish.
Our feed has broken again. This is not working very well at all. We may have to call this a day.
It's hard enough trying to figure out what's happening on track, without having a looping video to deal with too!
Apologies to all. It seems the Race of Champions is not Factbyte Factbox compatible. Not in it's current state, anyway.
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