Germany retain Nations Cup title
|By Steven English||Sunday, December 14th 2008, 16:11 GMT|
Team Germany defended their Race of Champions Nations Cup title at Wembley Stadium this afternoon when Michael Schumacher beat Team Scandinavia's Mattias Ekstrom in the deciding race.
Schumacher won the opening race of the final for Germany, beating Tom Kristensen by just 0.173s in RoC buggies, but Ekstrom levelled the score by defeating Sebastian Vettel in X-Bow cars - despite clouting the wall at the first corner.
That set up a decider between Schumacher and Ekstrom - last year's Race of Champions finalists - for the Nation's Cup title.
Schumacher led the first lap by a small margin after Ekstrom hooked a wheel over a kerb and lost time, and the German pulled further clear on the second tour to cement Germany's second consecutive Nations title.
Germany's path to the final came at the expense of F1 Racing Team Great Britain in the semi finals, as Schumacher beat David Coulthard in an X-Bow after Coulthard crashed and damaged his car. Schumacher then engaged in some show boating with Coulthard by waiting for his rival at the exit of the final corner before flooring it and crossing the line just ahead.
Vettel made it a clean sweep for the German team by knocking out Jason Plato in an RX150 buggy.
Germany had eliminated Team Ireland in the Nations Cup first round, with Schumacher beating Adam Carroll and Vettel edging out rally driver Gareth MacHale.
Scandinavia had needed a deciding third heat to reach the final after Kristensen narrowly beat Jenson Button in an Abarth rally car and Andy Priaulx had won the second contest when Mattias Ekstrom stalled his Ford Focus WRC at the start. Kristensen and Priaulx went head-to-head in RoC buggies and the Dane squeezed through by just 0.165s.
The Scandinavians had earlier knocked out Team France in the first round when Kristensen beat Yvan Muller in Abarths and Ekstrom got the better of Sebastien Loeb in a rally car - the Focus WRC
In the other first round ties, F1 Racing Team Great Britain knocked out the All-Star team as Coulthard and Plato defeated Jaime Alguersuari and Troy Bayliss respectively, and Autosport Team Great Britain knocked out Team USA with victories for Button and Priaulx when Carl Edwards crashed and Tanner Foust stalled in their respective races.