Race of Champions
Now in its 20th year, the Race Of Champions (ROC) boasts a list of past winners that reads like the 'who’s who of racing'. DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom created a huge surprise when he beat homecrowd favourite Sébastien Loeb at Stade de France in 2006. Loeb, the 3-time World Rally Champion, had taken the title in 2005 following after Heikki Kovalainen who beat both Loeb and Michael Schumacher when he claimed the ROC title in 2004. They join a distinguished group that includes world rally champions Juha Kankkunen, Stig Blomqvist, Didier Auriol, Tommi Mäkinen, Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae and Marcus Gronholm.
In 2004 Heikki Kovalainen, the Nissan World Series Champion that year, surprised everybody by winning over all the established stars. After beating seven-time Formula 1 Champion Michael Schumacher, the young Finn celebrated by jumping up and down on the red Ferrari! He then went on to beat Sebastien Loeb in the ROC Super-Final to take the 'Champion of Champions' title.
In 2003, Sebastien Loeb ended his season on a high note by winning a re-match of the 2002 ROC final, beating Finland's two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm. Loeb defeated Gronholm two heats to nil, both victories achieved by little more than a car length.
In 2002, World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm got the edge on the WRC's hottest young star Sebastien Loeb by a nose length in the third and decisive final.
In 2001, first-timer Harri Rovanpera defeated Armin Schwarz to take the title and, in the year previous, Tommi Mäkinen defeated Marcus Gronholm in an all-Finnish affair.