Solberg-led Team Norway wins ROC Nations Cup

Team Norway claimed its first Race of Champions Nations Cup victory as Petter and Oliver Solberg saw off surprise package USA in the best of four final in Sweden.

Solberg-led Team Norway wins ROC Nations Cup

The father and son combination claimed three out of four heat wins against an American team comprising of Nascar legend Jimmie Johnson and IndyCar driver Colton Herta.

Petter Solberg, who took victory in the Nations Cup as part of Team Nordic in 2014, won the opening bout as Johnson’s Polaris Pro XP Side-by-Side suffered mechanical woes off the line, while Oliver fended off Herta in the second heat.

Johnson recovered to win the third heat against Oliver in the rear-wheel-drive Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport but a mistake from Herta in the final heat gave Norway the victory.

“The motivation for this [came] when I saw Sebastien Loeb win in Monte Carlo, which made me think that it can’t be so difficult,” said Petter Solberg after the final race.

“I was so ready for this race and to do it together with Oliver was a big dream.”

Norway had earlier disposed of host nation Sweden in the quarter finals before beating defending champions Nordic in the semis.

For USA, their progress to the final was impressive as it was unexpected, with 2002 Nations Cup winner Johnson and rookie Herta arriving in Sweden with limited experience of snow driving.

Sensationally, they dumped eight-time Nations Cup winners Germany out in the quarter final stage and then edged out Finland to make the final.

Johnson beat four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel in the first heat, in Olsbergs MSE run Supercar Lite rallycross cars, following a poor start for the latter off the line.

Podium: Colton Herta, Jimmie Johnson, Petter Solberg, Oliver Solberg

Podium: Colton Herta, Jimmie Johnson, Petter Solberg, Oliver Solberg

Photo by: Race of Champions

Vettel’s team-mate, Haas F1 driver Mick Schumacher levelled things up by getting the better of Herta in the second heat by just under a second, before Johnson responded in the third heat against Schumacher.

Herta, who claimed victory in the Daytona 24 Hours last weekend in the LMP2 class, then inflicted a second defeat on Vettel in the deciding race to progress to the semi-finals.

Johnson and Herta went on to face Team Finland’s Mika Hakkinen and W Series driver Emma Kimilainen – a late replacement for Valtteri Bottas who withdrew from the event due to ‘personal commitments.’

Norway’s path to the final had a Scandinavian feel to it as the Solbergs had to battle past both Team Sweden and Team Nordic in the knock-out stages.

They edged out World RX champions Mattias Ekstrom and Timmy Hansen (Sweden) in the quarter finals after Hansen ploughed straight through a snowbank before spinning again on the run to the line.

In the semis, Petter managed to get to grips with the Porsche better than Kristensen, thus sealing a place in the final.

Two-time Race of Champions winner David Coulthard failed to make it past the quarter finals for Team GB alongside double W Series champion Jamie Chadwick.

The pair went up against Finland’s Hakkinen and Kimilainen, with Coulthard winning the first heat. Chadwick then understeered wide at the second corner in her heat, getting stuck in a snowbank and handing Kimilainen an easy win, and receiving a 10-second penalty as a result.

That margin was too much to overhaul, and Finland moved into the semis courtesy of Hakkinen’s victory over Coulthard, before losing out to Team USA.

The Race of Champions itself takes place on Sunday, in a winner-takes-all competition.

shares
comments

Related video

The most powerful people in motorsport
Previous article

The most powerful people in motorsport

Next article

The 'no-win' job vital to the young driver Awards test

The 'no-win' job vital to the young driver Awards test
Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return Plus

Why romanticism isn't the key factor in Lola’s racing return

The iconic Lola name is being relaunched after it was taken over by new ownership. Part of that reboot is a planned return to racing, though the exact details of this are still to be finalised - though its new owner does have a desire to bring the brand back to the Le Mans 24 Hours. But romanticism doesn't appear to be the driving force behind this renewed project...

General
Jul 14, 2022
Rating the best drivers of the century so far Plus

Rating the best drivers of the century so far

Autosport's Top 50 feature has been a staple of the magazine for the past two decades since its first appearance in 2002. Here are the drivers that have featured most prevalently during that time

General
Jan 7, 2022
The best motorsport moments of 2021 Plus

The best motorsport moments of 2021

Motorsport produced one of its greatest years of all-time in 2021 despite a backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 challenges and an ever-changing racing landscape. Through the non-stop action Autosport has collected the finest moments from the past 12 months to highlight the incredible drama and joy motorsport generates

General
Dec 31, 2021
The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers Plus

The racing comeback artists who resurrected long-dormant careers

Making it in motorsport can be tough, and sometimes drivers move elsewhere before their best chance arrives. Here are some of those who made it back

General
Dec 26, 2021
The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes Plus

The hidden racing gem attracting ex-F1 heroes

It’s rarely mentioned when it comes to assessing the best national contests, but the Brazilian Stock Car series that reaches its climax this weekend has an ever-growing appeal. Its expanding roster of ex-Formula 1 names has helped to draw in new fans, but it's the closeness of competition that keeps them watching

General
Dec 10, 2021
The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under Plus

The one-time Schumacher rival rebooting his career Down Under

Joey Mawson made waves in the middle of the last decade, beating future Haas Formula 1 driver Mick Schumacher - among other highly-rated talents - to the 2016 German F4 title. A run in F1's feeder GP3 category only caused his career to stall, but now back in Australia Mawson's S5000 title success has set that to rights

General
May 8, 2021
The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing Plus

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be

General
Apr 21, 2021
The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan Plus

The F1 and Indy 'nearly man' that found contentment in Japan

Having had the door to F1 slammed in his face and come within three laps of winning the Indianapolis 500, the collapse of a Peugeot LMP1 shot meant Japan was Bertrand Baguette's last chance of a career. But it's one which he has grasped with both hands

General
Feb 27, 2021