Grosjean wins Race of Champions

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IOL mot dec18 grosjean AFP Romain Grosjean (right) on his way to victory in the Race of Champions iin Bangkok.

Formula One star Romain Grosjean claimed the Race of Champions trophy in Bangkok late on Sunday, besting some of the biggest names in motorsport including Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.

The Frenchman beat Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in the best-of-three final to the competition, which brought together heavyweights from all racing disciplines in the same type of car, including IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and rally driver Sebastien Ogier.

Grosjean, who endured a controversy-marked season in his Formula One Lotus car, ended the year in style with an inspired win at the custom-built tarmac track in Bangkok's 50 000-capacity Rajamangala Stadium.

“That's what I'd call a crazy day,” the delighted champion said. “It's been a tough end to the F1 season but I finally got back on the podium yesterday, and now this. It's great to get this win before I head off for a holiday.”

In October Grosjean had been labelled “a first-lap nutcase” by rival Mark Webber after he hit the Australian's Red Bull seconds into the Japanese Grand Prix. The Lotus driver was banned earlier in the season for one race after a similar incident.

But Grosjean was in dynamic form in Bangkok, beating grand prix legend Schumacher in the semi-final and three-time Formula One champion Vettel in the quarters, the second time in a row he has tumbled out early.

IOL mot dec18 vettel Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel during the ROC Nations Cup Drivers Presentation at Rajamangala Stadium. AFP

But it was not all bad news for the German superstar, as he claimed the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday for the sixth time in a row with compatriot Schumacher, pipping Grosjean and Team France to the trophy.

The 25th edition of the event comes as Thailand makes moves to host its first Formula One race in 2014 with reports it could host a night race similar to Singapore's. -Sapa-AFP



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