Audi DTM ace Mattias Ekstrom has confirmed that he will return to the Race of Champions at Wembley in December in an effort to try and defend his crown.
The Swede beat Sebastien Loeb to the RoC crown in the Stade de France in Paris in 2006 and then defeated Michael Schumacher at Wembley last year as the London stadium played host to the event for the first time.
“It looks like this year could be the toughest yet,” Ekstrom – seeking to become the first man to win the Race of Champions for three years in a row – said. “There have already been some great names to be announced, but I'm a racer – I like having the title of 'Champion of Champions', and there's no way I'll give it up without a fight!”
Ekstrom will once again be joined in the Team Scandanavia line-up by multiple Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, with the duo seeking to repeat their 2005 win in the Nations Cup.
“The Race of Champions is always a lot of fun,” he said. “Racing around a stadium like Wembley in front of a packed crowd is completely different to racing in the DTM or at Le Mans - it's a great atmosphere and a fantastic way to end the season.”
Fredrik Johnsson, president of event organisers IMP, was delighted with the announcement of the two racers.
“Every year we try to put together the best-ever line up of champions and we're well on the way to doing that in 2008,” he said. “To have the greatest ever drivers from F1, rallying, Le Mans and touring cars, plus the driver who has beaten everyone else to The Race of Champions title for the past two years, is fantastic – it really is going to be a great battle.”