Filipe Albuquerque Wins 2010 Race of Champions

Alain Prost and Mick DoohanFilipe AlbuquerqueFilipe Albuquerque and Jeroen BleekemolenAndy PriaulxBertrand Baguette and Heikki KovalainenCarl Edwards and Jason PlatoSebastien Loeb vs Filipe Albuquerque final roundSebastien Loeb vs Filipe Albuquerque final roundTanner Faust and Andy PriaulxTom Kristensen and Sebastien LoebSebastien Loeb vs Filipe AlbuquerqueAlvaro Parente and Travis PastranaPodium celebration 2010 RoCAlain Prost and Michael SchumacherESPRIT Arena in DusseldorfPodium celebration 2010 RoCMichael SchumacherSebastian VettelSebastian Vettel Audi R8 LMSSebastian Vettel KTM X-Bow
Filipe Albuquerque is the new title holder in the Race of Champions event, which took place at the ESPRIT Arena in Dusseldorf. The Portuguese driver outclassed a variety of motor racing champions in the individual category on Sunday, including freshly crowned F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and 7-time WRC master Sebastien Loeb.

The action in the RoC – following Team Germany's win in the Nations Cup a day before – began with the 16 drivers taking part in the event being separated into 4 groups, where only the top two drivers were to qualify for the knock-out quarter-finals.

The first group saw Heikki Kovalainen provide the audience with the first major crash of the day, as his Audi R8 LMS went into the barriers and then hit the concrete wall at the side of the track. He was immediately taken to a local hospital for checks, but escaped uninjured. He was however unable to resume action in the event. In the end, only Loeb and Bertrand Baguette were to qualify onwards.

Group B saw triple FIA WTCC champion Andy Priaulx and 8-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen pass on to the quarter-finals. 5-time FIM champion Mick Doohan was unable to get past the group stage, while RoC regular Travis Pastrana may have missed a date with Lady Fortune, as he suffered a stall, a spin and a last-corner defeat in his 3 group races, ranking last.

Group C saw the eventual winner Filipe Albuquerque race on alongside Sebastian Vettel, while NASCAR's Carl Edwards and his countryman, X-Games gold medallist Travis Foust had to watch the rest of the action from the sidelines. Finally, in Group D, Michael Schumacher beat all of his rivals to take 1st place, while followed by GP2 star Alvaro Parente. 4-time F1 champion Alain Prost and British Touring Car ace Jason Plato missed out on the quarterfinals.

In front of more than 64,000 fans, Albuquerque went on to secure a place in the semi finals by defeating countryman Parente, while the German Battle between Vettel and Schumacher ended with the youngest of those champions being the victor. The Final Four table was completed by Loeb, who managed to oust Kristensen in the quarters, while Priaulx defeated Baguette later on.

Albuquerque's streak extended in the semis also, where he narrowly beat Vettel for a place in the final, while Loeb did the same against Priaulx. In the end, it was the Portuguese driver, currently racing inside the Italian GT Championship, who took the laurels, as he beat the WRC ace with an overall score of 2-1 on the specially-constructed parallel track.

Today was my day. Everything went so well and I made no mistakes. Since the beginning I was up against such good drivers - I had to beat Sebastian Vettel twice and in the final, wow, Sebastien was really on it. I can't believe it - it's the first time I am here and I have won - I could not ask for more. To win against great names, including Vettel in Germany when he has just won the world championship, is just fantastic,” said the Portuguese driver after the RoC final.

It was a really good fight but Filipe was very strong. I drove some good races and got to the final after some interesting fights; I gave everything. This morning I wasn't so confident after what happened yesterday in the ROC Nations Cup when I was beaten by Andy Priaulx but today went much better. I won all my races except for the one that mattered most, the final. But I am sure Filipe will be back again next year to defend his title and I'd like to be back so I hope we can fight again!” added Loeb.
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