The eighth time was the charm for David Coulthard.
“DC,” the 13-time Formula One Grand Prix winner, defeated Mercedes F1 reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein in the final of the 2014 Race of Champions in Barbados to become “Champion of Champions” in his eighth ROC appearance.
Meanwhile, the ROC’s three U.S. drivers – NASCAR’s Kurt Busch, IndyCar’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Robby Gordon – all bowed out in the quarterfinal round.
You can watch a one-hour highlights show of this weekend’s ROC on Thursday night, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Prior to today, Coulthard’s best ROC finish was a runner-up result to rallying legend Sebastien Loeb in the 2008 edition in London.
“I’m retired, but it’s lovely to get another trophy,” said Coulthard, who then proceeded to praise Wehrlein for his efforts.
“I think everyone here recognizes that we have a star here for the future,” Coulthard said of Wehrlein. “He’s already signed up with Mercedes’ Formula One team as a reserve driver, he’s winning races in DTM…Motorsport is in good health.”
Today’s best-of-3 final between Coulthard and Wehrlein started in the KTM X-Bow. Coulthard drew a warning for touching a barrier on the opening lap, but ran a clean second lap around the course and beat Wehrlein to the stripe by 1.4 seconds.
That led to Race 2 in the Ariel Atom Cup car. The race tightened up considerably in the second lap before Wehrlein put two wheels off-course in the final corner, allowing Coulthard to pull away and earn the title-clinching win.
“It was so much fun but at the end, David was really quick. I couldn’t beat him,” Wehrlein said of his final round. “For me, it’s a bit tough to drive a manual shift car and brake with the right foot, the clutch and everything. I was struggling a bit with that.”
As for the Americans, their days started with lots of promise but ended abruptly in the quarterfinals.
All three men swept their three respective heat races in the group stage to advance to the knockout rounds. But in the quarterfinals, they all went down: Busch to V8 Supercar champ Jamie Whincup in the Audi R8 LMS, Gordon to Wehrlein in the ROC Car, and Hunter-Reay to European F3 champ Esteban Ocon in the X-Bow.
Afterwards, Gordon said he thought Wehrlein should have been given a time penalty in their match for hitting a barrier.
“Obviously, he’s a very capable driver but he did clip the barrier and that should be [a penalty of] five seconds,” Gordon said. “[But] the reality is, he was fast. He was fast even with clipping the barrier, so it is what it is.”
In a later interview on the streaming broadcast, Gordon indicated that he also had issues with second gear being broken on his ROC Car.
Busch dubbed the quarterfinals as the “American eliminator round,” perhaps a reference to the last cut in the Chase for the Sprint Cup in his own series.
“I thought we had a better shot with us three [Americans] in it, and none of us got through that round,” said Busch.