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Vettel poised for ROC title defence

Sebastian Vettel: The fact you drive with different cars means you have to adapt quickly. You don't have much time to think so you just do what you feel is right. Sometimes it works, sometimes not
Sebastian Vettel will bid to defend his Race Of Champions title at Miami's Marlins Park this weekend.

The four-time F1 world champion and six-time RoC Nations Cup winner beat Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in the best-of-three final at London's Olympic Stadium back in November 2015, the last running of the event. The 28th edition now get underway today (Saturday) and in a change to the norm, the individual competition is first, before the drivers pair up in teams for Sunday's ROC Nations Cup and then a new 'Ryder Cup-style finale: America vs The World'.

"I've been trying to win the Race Of Champions for many years so I was very happy to finally get to the final in London and take the trophy home with me. Now it's great to be back," said the Ferrari driver.

"It's great to hang out with the other drivers, away from what is normally a competitive environment. Of course when you're on track and the lights are about to go out you want to win, but off the track it's very easy going.

"The format of the racing is very different too, but good fun. The fact you drive with different cars means you have to adapt quickly. You don't have much time to think so you just do what you feel is right. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

"But as racing drivers it's important to have the right excuse: it was cold last time so if it doesn't work out this time it must be because it is too hot…!"

Joining Vettel in the competition will be fellow F1 drivers Felipe Massa and Pascal Wehrlein – the latter also paired with his compatriot for the ROC Nations Cup.

Other notable names in action include Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Rossi and Scott Speed, as well as Kurt and Kyle Busch, Kristensen, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Helio Castroneves, Gabby Chaves, Petter Solberg and Travis Pastrana.

"There's such a great line-up at this year's Race Of Champions, I'm the only person I don't actually know!" Coulthard joked. "So thank you to Fredrik Johnsson and the team for inviting me back.

"While these guys are used to putting on a race suit, in my case I packed my bag a week in advance. It's great to have it in America, I'm super-excited and it takes me back to being a young kid. A lot of motor sports talk about the fans but at ROC they really take to heart what the fans are asking for.

"This new format of America vs the World will add another layer for the fans to enjoy. We have all come over and we intend to take the trophy hope. They think we're on their territory but the rivalries have started already in the changing rooms. As long as we win, it will be perfect."

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by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

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27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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January 22, 2017 8:42 AM

watching roc last night, i was shocked at the huge departure from its original format. it was worse than an f1 gp in a carpark. "course" was tiny, uninteresting etc. cars were unreliable. gearbox problems, even a steering wheel falling off ! and to cap it all, apart from vettel, button and coulthard, very few people of note. terrible!

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