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The Race of Champions Beijing, Pt. 2: Zee Chermans Vin Ahgaihn!

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On: Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 3:30PM | By: John Welch

The Race of Champions Beijing, Pt. 2: Zee Chermans Vin Ahgaihn!

The 2009 Race of Champions, held in Beijing, China, was a stunning display of massively endowed (re: ballsy!) drivers adapting to constantly changing situations and conditions. The ability to get out of your normal race car, climb into several completely different cars and then go fast straight away is an incredible feat of human will. Drivers like Tanner Foust or Chad Reed may be used to switching rides often, but others, such as Sebastian Vettel, have been practicing one single discipline their entire lives. This variety of skill-sets and talents makes for a thrilling event every year.


The Nations Cup:
It really doesn't matter what drivers the rest of the world throws at Germany, the Bavarians have truly produced the best drivers in existence, for now. The UK and USA teams did well this year, the US making it to the semis and the UK to the final round, but they just had nothing for the German pairing of Sebastian Vettel and (this one is totally unfair) Michael Schumacher. Though Jenson Button took the F1 title from Vettel this year, it was obvious that the German is one of, if not the best, Formula One pilot in the world; and his teammate, well, c'mon- it's Michael friggin' Schumacher!! The guy has seven F1 World Championships, an unfathomable number that will likely never be eclipsed. His veins pump ice water, his senses are as honed as a the most perceptive bird-of-prey, his hands and feet move in concert as if they are part of some unbreakable computer algorithum. Time away from F1 has done little to diminish his skills. He is legendary in every corner of the world; even your typical beer swilling, 88tshirtbeercoozieballcapbomberjacketkeychainnoveltybeltbuckel/bottleopener-festooned goofball NASCAR junkie (I'm included in that less-than-flattering, overly wordy stereotype, by the way) has at least heard of him.

"Hey Cletus, who drives 'at damn red car what's on Speed whilst wees tryin' to fight the bedspins, 'round 3 am, Sundie mornin'?" Cletus knows, he's excited! "Why thats none other then 'ole Michael Shoemaker, uh, Schomasser; no, wait, . . . Schumahhkker! That's it, 'ole Schumahhker!" Good job Cletus, here's your cookie . . .
Anyway, Tanner Foust and Travis Pastrana were the American representatives, and they smashed through everyone except for those wiley Germans. Foust even defeated Schumacher in the semis, though two wins from Vettel sealed the American team's fate. That victory is only the second time Schumacher has lost in RoC competiton, and surely the first time he has finished second to an American, ever! The British team of Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx bested team China to enter into the final against team Germany. Jenson lost the first heat to Schumacher by seven-tenths of a second, but WTCC driver Priaulx eked out a win over Vettel in heat two. Alas, you may beat one German, but you won't beat them both. In the final heat Schumacher wiped the floor with Priaulx, finishing a second ahead of the Briton in the RoC buggy.

The Race Of Champions:
In the individual competition Audi's Swedish DTM ace Mattias Ekstrom was able to hand Schumacher his third RoC defeat, winning the Race of Champions in style. Our American heros didn't do so well, failing to make it out of their respective groups A and C.

The final came down to Ekstrom and Schumacher, and it was sure to be a barnstormer. Ekstrom has three titles in the RoC, making him the second most sucessful driver behind Schumacher.

The race would start in the RoC Buggy, move to the KTM Xbow, and then finish with the Requisit Buggy. This was the closest racing a fan could possibly hope for; take a look at these times!

Race one, RoC Buggy: Ekstom- 1:57.290, Schumacher- 1:57.471 . . .that's two-measly-tenths after four laps!

Race two, KTM Xbow: Ekstrom- 1:56.044, Schumacher- 1:56.657, again, less then two-tenths of a second!

Timing and scoring got all wonky during the third race, and the mighty Schumacher spun(!!!) on his third lap, effectively handing the trophy to Ekstrom. A victory well earned, the Swede went head to head with the most polished driver alive, and won! Good for him and good for Scandanavia.

In depth results can be found at the RoC's home page, http://www.raceofchampions.com.

The entire broadcast of both races can be viewed at freecaster.tv.

Tanner Foust wrote a blog for Speedtv.com about his time in China; it's a fascinating read, promise.

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