Ekström wins "Race of Champions," predominantly e-cars on the grid for the first time
Matthias Ekström has won the "Race of Champions" in Pite Havsbad, Sweden. He prevailed in the final against Mick Schumacher, who had previously beaten Sebastian Vettel in the semifinals. The day before, Peter and Oliver Solberg had won the Nations Cup for Norway. For the first time in the history of the RoC, more vehicles were powered by electric motors than by internal combustion engines.
As electric vehicles were the Cupra Urbanrebel Concept and the two rallycross cars Zeroid X1 and FC1X manufactured by QEV and Olsberg, which are used in the RX2e and NitroRX racing series. Peter and Oliver Solberg, who competed together for Norway in the RoC Nations Cup, came out on top on Saturday. In the final, they beat Hyundai's WRC driver Thierry Neuville and Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich, who competed as "Team All Stars", 3:1. Only Neuville managed a victory against Peter Solberg. The semifinals were reached by the German team of Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, and the Swedish team of Mattias Ekström and Johan Kristoffersson.
In the single decision on Sunday, Mattias Ekström and Mick Schumacher met in the final. The World Rallycross Champion had previously beaten Kristoffersson and Neuville, while Schumacher had prevailed against Vettel in the semifinals. Here it became clear that Ekström is more experienced on snow and ice: He won the first race by three tenths of a second. In the second race, it briefly looked as if the German had a chance - but that was only because Ekström's car suddenly started to smoke. The Swedish veteran knocked out the fire on the straight and still secured his fourth Champion of Champions title unchallenged. Tanner Foust and Adrien Tambay, who otherwise compete in Extreme E and ETCR respectively, were eliminated in the heats.
"After about half a lap, something in my center console caught fire and was smoking in the car. I think my co-driver wanted to stop, but that was out of the question for me," Ekström said. "But much more important than winning for me is to race with Mick. I've already driven two finals with Michael and had only great moments with him, which is why it's great to drive against Mick now. I know it won't be long before he beats me. But with him, I wouldn't even have a problem with that."