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Romain Grosjean wins 2012 Race of Champions
16 December 2012
Romain Grosjean brushed aside Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel on the way to claiming his first RoC 'Champion of Champions' title at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
The Frenchman, who finished eighth for Lotus in the Formula 1 standings this year, came up against Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in the final, Grosjean proceeding to defeat the Dane in both the RoC buggies and the KTM X-Bows to secure a comprehensive win.
A strong event all round for the former GP2 champion, Grosjean came into the individual pursuit having also reached the final of the Nations Cup alongside Sebastien Ogier, where they were beaten by Germany's Schumacher and Vettel.
Indeed, seven-time F1 champion Schumacher looked well placed to make it an RoC double after cruising through the group stage, even beating Grosjean along the way in the round robin Group D, while Vettel also cruised through Group C without a blemish to his record.
Qualifying as runner-up in Group D, Grosjean came up against Vettel – so far unbeaten all weekend – in the quarter-finals, but pulled off the victory when the 2012 F1 champion's brush with the wall broke the KTM X-Bow's suspension.
Proceeding to the semi-finals, Grosjean came up against Schumacher for the third time in the weekend, after the German defeated Mick Doohan in his last eight meet, and finally reeled off a victory in the X-Bow, sending Schumacher out and himself into the final.
In the other half of the draw, Kristensen's route to the final saw him comfortably progress from Group B with China's Ho-Pin Tung – ahead of Andy Priaulx and Nattavude Charoensukawattana - before knocking out reigning champion Ogier in the quarter-finals and David Coulthard in the semi-finals.
However, he was no match for Grosjean in the final, who becomes the fourth Frenchman to win the RoC title after Ogier, Sebastien Loeb and Didier Auriol. With his F1 future not yet secured, Grosjean was delighted to get the better of his rivals.
“That's what I'd call a crazy day! It got a bit tough in the group stages but I managed to make it through. Then I had to face Sebastian Vettel in the quarter-final before Michael Schumacher in the semi-final – the two Germans who beat us in yesterday's ROC Nations Cup final.
“Then I had the final with Tom. We've had a good history at this event and I've raced him before so it was good to face him in the final. I got a bit of extra luck to be in the right car at the right time but it felt good.
"It's been a tough end to the F1 season but I finally got back on the podium yesterday, and now this! It's great to get this win before I head off for a holiday. Thanks to everyone in Thailand because the welcome has been fantastic.”
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