Nine-time WRC champion defeated four-time F1 world champion Vettel 3-1 in a best of four final in Sunday’s individual Champion of Champions tournament to become a Race of Champions winner for the fourth time. 

Loeb overcame Petter and Oliver Solberg and Mattias Ekstrom to set up the final showdown with Vettel, who in turn beat Emma Kimilainen, Colton Herta and Tom Kristensen to progress to the final. 

The 47-year-old surged into an early 2-0 lead over Vettel, before the Aston Martin driver forced a mistake from Loeb in the third heat to take his only win of the final. Loeb then prevailed by 0.786s in the fourth and deciding heat. 

Loeb’s victory sees him tie Didier Auriol’s record for the most wins in the individual Champion of Champions event. 

“It’s been a long time since I was last at the Race Of Champions, so I’m happy to find out that at 47 years of age I still have the pace,” said Loeb.

“It was a nice fight with Seb in the final and I had a good feeling – except for when I completely lost control of the car in the third heat! Now here we are, and it’s great to equal Didier’s record of four ROC Champion of Champions titles.” 

Vettel added: “Sébastien was just too fast today. The conditions were tricky out there and it was getting more and more slippery, which I guess is normal for snow and ice! 

“I don’t have that much experience so it was a struggle to adapt; in my day job getting sideways is what we try to avoid. But I felt I was improving every time I drove. That’s a good sign, but also a sign that I still have a lot to learn.”

Meanwhile, Haas F1 driver Mick Schumacher was knocked out in Sunday’s event by two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick in the first round. 

Schumacher and Vettel paired up to compete for Team Germany in the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday but were eliminated by Team USA’s Jimmie Johnson and Colton Herta in the quarter finals. 

Team GB’s David Coulthard and Chadwick also exited the competition at the same stage, having been beaten by Team Finland’s Mika Hakkinen and Kimilainen, who stood in as a last-minute replacement for Alfa Romeo F1 driver Valtteri Bottas.