Race of Champions: Kristensen, Solberg (Team Nordic) win Nations Cup; Americans out in group stage


Nine-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and new FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg captured the Race of Champions Nations Cup on the first day of ROC action from Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados.

Kristensen and Solberg, paired together as Team Nordic, defeated the Team Scotland group of former F1 pilot David Coulthard and current F1 reserve driver Susie Wolff, 2-1, in the final.

Kristensen beat Wolff in the first heat race, only for Coulthard to respond by knocking off Solberg. That set up a tie-breaker between Kristensen and Coulthard, which ended with the former winning as the latter went off at the final corner.

The home team, Team Barbados, also had a strong Saturday as drivers Dane Skeete and Rhett Watson advanced out of the group stage and then pushed Team Scotland to a third race in the semifinals.

Additionally, the local boys won the ROC Caribbean tournament over driving teams from Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago.

The U.S. was represented by Indy 500 champ Ryan Hunter-Reay and former NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Kurt Busch (Team USA) as well as jack of all trades Robby Gordon, who was paired with FIA World Touring Car champ Jose Maria Lopez of Argentina as Team Americas.

Unfortunately for the star-spangled trio, neither of their teams managed to escape the aforementioned group stage.

In Group A, Team Nordic’s four wins and Team France’s (F1’s Romain Grosjean and European F3 champ Esteban Ocon) three saw them through to the knockout rounds over Team Americas’ two wins, both from Gordon.

Hunter-Reay and Busch combined for three wins in Group B (two from RHR, one from Busch) to put them level with Team Barbados behind Team Scotland’s five wins. But the Barbadians grabbed the last advance spot over Team USA on fastest lap time.

With the Nations Cup decided, the main event awaits Sunday at 11 a.m. ET. As in the Nations Cup, the main event will begin with a round-robin group stage.

The top two drivers from each group will move on to the knockout rounds and compete to be called “Champion of Champions.” Here’s the round-robin draw:

Group A
Romain Grosjean (reigning ROC Champion of Champions)
Jamie Whincup
David Coulthard
Mick Doohan

Group B
Petter Solberg
Kurt Busch
Susie Wolff
Fastest Team Barbados driver from ROC Caribbean

Group C
Jose Maria Lopez
Robby Gordon
Fastest ROC Caribbean driver from other teams
Esteban Ocon

Group D
Tom Kristensen
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Jolyon Palmer
Pascal Wehrlein

A highlights show of this weekend’s events will air Thursday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.