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Race of Champions

Loeb beats Vettel in ROC Champions of Champions



Loeb beats Vettel in ROC Champions of Champions

Sébastien Loeb won the 2022 edition of the “Roc” Race of Champions against Sebastian Vettel and became joint record holder of the event along with Didier Auriol.

Sebastien Loeb battled the difficult conditions at the 2022 Race of Champions in Pitea, Sweden, to achieve a record-equalling fourth title at the event.

Loeb, a nine-time World Rally champion, bested four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel in the final.

It was looking comfortable for the Frenchman after the opening two heats, however a spin in the third run allowed Vettel the chance to sniff back into contention.

Although the fourth heat was a close fight between the two, Loeb closed out the competition with an error-free run and ended the day on top, matching Didier Auriol on four victories at the Race of Champions.

While Loeb and Vettel were drawn straight into the Round of 16, two drivers had to advance from the opening round to join the 14 drivers already positioned in the next stage.

Colton Herta faced off against IndyCar colleague Helio Castroneves, with the former coming out on top by over two and a half seconds in the Polaris car. The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner was out, and was forced to watch the remainder of the event from the sidelines.


Mick Schumacher, who was one of the most impressive drivers in Saturday’s Nations Cup, was also knocked out before the Round of 16, as two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick bested him by almost one and a half seconds to advance into the following stage.

Herta and Chadwick were then ushered into competition together, driving the electric Rx2e car, a favourite machine of many of the attending drivers. Herta comfortably eased through, after Chadwick spun on her lap – the second time she had done so during the weekend’s event.

Vettel then got the better of Emma Kimilainen in their shoot-out, the Finnish driver’s weekend coming to an end after she was drafted into the event on short notice for Alfa Romeo F1 driver Valtteri Bottas.

NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson breezed past Mika Hakkinen to move into the quarter finals, but Tom Kristensen only just got the better of David Coulthard to book his place further into the tournament.

With one half of the Round of 16 over, it was the turn of the rally-associated drivers, who were more used to competition in tight and twisty conditions. Fresh from his Nations Cup victory, Oliver Solberg beat reigning Champion of Champions Benito Guerra, however his father Petter was beat by Loeb by less than half a second.

Johan Kristoffersson eased into the next round after Timmy Hansen spun on his lap, causing him to cross over into the other side of the track. Mattias Ekstrom was the last of the drivers to advance into the quarter finals after he bested Auriol by almost six seconds.

The quarter finals would be contested over two heats and in the first outing, Vettel advanced past Herta after both took a win each – however on lap time count back, Vettel was declared the winner.


Two wins apiece also occurred in the second quarter final that consisted of Kristensen and Johnson, and it was Le Mans legend Kristensen that moved forward, slotting in beside Vettel for their semi final duel.

O. Solberg and Loeb, two drivers at very different stages of their rally careers, faced off in the third quarter final, and while Loeb took the first win, the second run was declared a dead heat as both drivers crossed the line at the exact same time. However, Loeb advanced, having had the quicker lap time overall from the two runs.

Facing Loeb in the semi final would be Ekstrom, as he beat Kristoffersson despite both drivers taking a win each.

In the first semi final run, Kristensen was left frustrated after his Rx2e car came to a halt during his lap, allowing Vettel to ease to victory. While lap time count back was no longer being considered, it was a disappointing start for the Dane’s run.

However, Vettel closed out the duel in two heats, as the next drive also went his way in the Polaris, meaning he had booked a spot in the final.

It would be either Loeb or Ekstrom that he would meet and after both drivers took a win each in the first two runs, it was down to a tie-breaker which saw Loeb win, allowing him to cast his find into the final, which would be fought between two motorsport titans.



Loeb looked to be well on his way to becoming the Champion of Champions, taking victory in the first two heats. Vettel’s run in the third was scrappy and it appeared that Loeb had one hand on the trophy.

However, the WRC superstar made a rare mistake on his lap that saw him spin. Vettel capitalised and took a win, as well as a chance to tie the final at 2-2. But he couldn’t do so, as on the next run, Loeb ensured there were no mistakes and he crossed the line ahead of Vettel to extend the lead to 3-1 and secure the title.

“It’s the rest of my good start of [my season],” Loeb said. “Second in Dakar, winning the Monte Carlo [rally] and victory here at the Race of Champions. For sure I’m really happy. It’s not easy for us to be here in front of all of this Swedish and Norwegian guys. They are really used to this [conditions]. But I had a good feeling this weekend, I could find my rhythm.”

Loeb beats Vettel in ROC Champions of Champions Loeb beats Vettel in ROC Champions of Champions Loeb beats Vettel in ROC Champions of Champions

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