British Touring Car Championship duo Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx have claimed victory at the Race Of Champions Nations Cup for Team England, defeating the F1 pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg of Team Germany in the final at London's former Olympic Stadium.
The tin top stars proved their mettle against the four-time F1 champion and the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner in a thrilling finale, having defeated the second all-England team of Jenson Button and Alex Buncombe in their semi-final.
Defending Race Of Champions Nations Cup winners Team Nordic of Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg went close to keeping hold of their crown but were thoroughly beaten by Team Germany in the evening's other semi-final.
It is the first time Team England has won the Race Of Champions Nations Cup while the victory denied Team Germany a record seventh title.
A delighted Priaulx, a two-time World Touring Car Champion, says it all came together for him and his fellow BTCC driver Plato inside the London Olympic Stadium and was thrilled to revel in the spectacle.
“Germany have won it a few times so it's nice to have a turn – and nice for me to win a race for once,” Priaulx said. “I've been to the ROC Nations Cup final three times so to do the job is great. This competition is tough and it gets tougher every year so you have to be on your A game here because every race is like a qualifying session. It's so easy to make mistakes but I'm really chuffed.”
Vettel, a six-time Race Of Champions Nations Cup winner with Michael Schumacher between 2007 and 2012, says it is a bitter pill to swallow but took the defeat with good grace.
“It hurts, a lot, but Andy drove fantastically tonight, so well done,” Vettel said. “They deserved to win and it's especially nice in front of your home crowd. If you're in the final you want to win but someone has to lose and unfortunately it was us today. We tried everything but it was their day so I'm also very happy for them.”