DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom put his name into the Race of Champions record books at Wembley Stadium as he became only the third driver in the 20 year history of the event to successfully defend the title.

Prior to the first running of the end of season spectacular on British soil, only Stig Blomqvist (1989-90) and Didier Auriol (1993-94) had managed to defend the title and Ekstrom didn't face an easy run to the title as he was put in the same half of the draw as the likes of Heikki Kovalainen, Andy Priaulx and Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen.

Having knocked his Nations Cup team-mate Kristensen out in the first round, Ekstrom then defeated American Travis Pastrana in the quarter-final to secure his place in the semi-final against WTCC champion Priaulx.

It left him against Michael Schumacher in the best-of-three final, with Ekstrom taking victory in the opening heat at the wheel of the Solution F touring car. Schumacher drew level in the ROC Buggy before a return to the Astra-based silhouette machine - with Ekstrom again victorious to lift the title for the second year in succession.

"It is always difficult to win the Race of Champions because you have to beat 16 top drivers to take the title," he told Crash.net Radio. "I'm really proud because it is difficult to do it two times in a row. But I felt like I had a good evening with a good flow and I'm really happy.

"It isn't easy to defend the title but I'll try to become the first person to do it three times in a row. That is in twelve months time though and a lot of water will flow under the bridge before then!"

Ekstrom also drew praise from event organiser Fredrik Johnsson for defending the title.

"Stig and Didier are the only other people who have managed to defend the title in the past," he said. "You can be lucky once, but not twice. Mattias had a great event with no mistakes and had perfect runs all the way through."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...