Racing stars from across the globe came to the arctic for the big battle.
The Race of Champions (ROC) is an annual event that sees competitors from several disciplines race it out against one another in an attempt to decide who the ultimate driver is. This year, after a two-year absence, the victor was rally veteran Sebastien Loeb who squared off against F1 star Sebastian Vettel and 16 other drivers. The event was held on the Baltic Sea of Pite Havsbad, Sweden - just 60 miles away from the Arctic Circle.
Using a parallel track layout once again, this is the first time that the event has taken place on ice. The choice of cars for the challenge included the likes of the FIA RX2e electric rallycross car, Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, Polaris RZR PRO XP, and the SuperCar Lites which benefits from 100% fossil-free biofuel.
For this year's ROC, it was decided that the traditional rallycross-style group stage would not take place due to the dangers of the track conditions. Elements such as ice and snow tend to change quickly with the weather which would be a serious safety concern if more than two cars were on the track.
Substituting this was a 16 round elimination program that saw the course split into two halves. The first accommodated international drivers while the second housed the more experienced rally and off-road racers. In the first half, Vettel was able to best the likes of nine-time Le Mans 24 Hour champion Tom Kristensen in the best-of-three semi-final event.
Stars that participated in the tournament included two-time Formula One World Champion Mika Hakkinen, World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, Seven-time Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson, IndyCar's Colton Herta, DTM and Rallycross ace Mattias Ekstrom, and more. Through the grueling elimination, quarter-final, and semi-final rounds, all but Loeb and Vettel had fallen out.
The finale consisted of a best-of-five competition, Loeb clinched the win in the fourth round which saw him crowned the ROC Champion of Champions for the fourth time. With this, he matches the current record set by Didier Auriol. Vettel has also seen success in the event, having won it three times before.