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2008 Race of Champions - Recapping the end-of-year event at Wembley Stadium

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

The Race of Champions is an annual event that pits leaders from many different motorsport series against each other in a set of races. Organised by ex-rally driver Michele Mouton, it used to be in France, but moved to Wembley Stadium last year. The grass is covered over by some temporary tarmac and the big stars are invited to come and drive.

This year we saw several big names including Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and David Coulthard. They represent their nations for the first championship, known as the Nations Cup, and then they battle it out individually to be the Race of Champions Champion.

Nations Cup

With Schumacher and Vettel teamed up together, they were always going to be a hard act to beat. The US team had a last minute replacement, as did team Australia. With Mark Webber scheduled to race, and breaking his leg in November, they had to draft in Jaime Alguersuari. They became Team ROC All Stars, with one Australian and one Spanish driver.

Team France and Team USA were knocked out in Round 1, and it was left to the British teams plus Team Scandinavia to try and hold off the German success. It didn't happen though, and Schumacher made it an easy victory.

Race of Champions

The Nations Cup was good, but this is what it really came down to. I was secretly cheering on Vettel, but hoping Coulthard would do well. Vettel was put out by Sébastien Loeb, who had just finished a race where he crashed and still came back to win. Coulthard was busy knocking out his side of the table, and soon it was DC versus Loeb - best of three. They won one each, squeezing every last drop out of the cars they were given. Eventually, Loeb was victorious and Coulthard very gracious in defeat. I think he was just happy to be there.

Other than that, Hamilton opened proceedings by driving a Mercedes round the track with various passengers. He was supposed to be in a race against Chris Hoy - British Olympic cycling gold medallist - but apparently conditions were just too treacherous for Hoy to take to the saddle. Both Hamilton and Coulthard did demonstrations in their F1 machinery though, burning out the tyres, performing donuts, and generally being quite loud.

We watched the event via and they've got highlights available to watch now, as well as a replay of the entire event. It's highly recommended viewing, although obviously I've given away who won each event.