Former ROC king Kovalainen returning to Race of Champions
The Race of Champions helped the current Lotus F1 driver make his name
Formula 1 star and former ROC ‘Champion of Champions’ Heikki Kovalainen will hope to reenact one of his finest hours at the 2010 Race of Champions in Düsseldorf on November 27-28.
The annual end-of-season competition brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s most prestigious disciplines and pits them head-to-head in identical machinery. Kovalainen announced his arrival in the big time with his 2004 win, defeating Michael Schumacher and Sébastien Loeb along the way. He celebrated his semi-final win over the German by jumping onto the roof of his Ferrari in front of the packed Paris grandstands.
Since then Kovalainen has gone on to a Formula 1 career that has already included stints at Renault and McLaren, for whom he won the Hungarian GP in 2008. Now the Finn, currently with Lotus, is back for more, joining a driver roll call that already includes Schumacher and Loeb plus four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost, five-time world 500cc motorcycling champion Mick Doohan, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner Tom Kristensen, X-Games legend Travis Pastrana and 2010 F1 title contender Sebastian Vettel.
Kovalainen said: “The Race of Champions has a special place in my heart because beating Michael and Sébastien in 2004 really got me noticed in the world of motor sport. It was around that time that my road to Formula 1 really took off. Now we have had a great first year with Lotus. I always revel in the toughest competition – that’s why I want to be part of ROC. If I come away with another result like that again this year you can bet I’ll be jumping back onto the roof of any car I can find…”
The Race of Champions has been staged every year since 1988, founded by IMP President Fredrik Johnsson and Michèle Mouton, the world’s most successful female rally driver. This year’s event will take place on a specially constructed tarmac circuit with two parallel lanes winding their way round Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena.
Johnsson said: “Heikki made a mighty impressive entrance into motor sport folklore with his win at The Race of Champions in 2004. Now we look forward to seeing if he can match that against another field of legends next month.”
More star drivers will be announced as the countdown to the 2010 Race of Champions continues in the run-up to the big weekend in Düsseldorf on November 27-28.
Drivers already confirmed for the 2010 Race of Champions:
— Michael SCHUMACHER, Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
— Alain PROST, Four-time Formula 1 World Champion
— Sébastien LOEB, Seven-time World Rally Champion
— Mick DOOHAN, Five-time World 500cc Motorcycling Champion
— Sebastian VETTEL, 2010 Formula 1 title contender
— Tom KRISTENSEN, Eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner
— Andy PRIAULX, Three-time World Touring Car Champion
— Alvaro PARENTE, GP2 race winner & Winner, ROC South Europe 2010
— Filipe ALBUQUERQUE, A1GP race winner & Winner, ROC South Europe 2010
— Travis PASTRANA, Eleven-time X-Games gold medallist
— Carl EDWARDS, 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion
— Heikki KOVALAINEN, Formula 1 grand prix winner
ROC Press release