Loeb beats comeback Vettel in ROC Champions of Champions


Rally legend Sebastien Loeb defeated four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel 3 heats to 1 in Sunday's ROC Champion of Champions final to claim his fourth title in the series.

The showdown between the two drivers capped a turn-around story for both Sebs who were early losers with their respective teams in Saturday's ROC Nations Cup event won by Team Norway at Pite Havsbad's icy and snowy track in Sweden.

Vettel promptly dispatched Emma Kimilainen, Colton Herta and Tom Kristensen to earn his spot in the final round which was once again run with the ROC's Polaris buggy, RX Supercar Lite and RX2e electric rallycross car.

On his opponent's side, Loeb overcame arguably a series of stronger rivals to reach the final, with the 2022 Monte Carlo Rally winner beating Saturday's victors, the Solberg family father and son, and then Mattias Ekstrom.

Loeb sustained his momentum from the outset in the final, winning the first two heats against Vettel onboard the Polaris and the RX Lite.

But Vettel was spared a humiliating three-to-zero defeat thanks to a rare mistake by Loeb who stuck his electric RX2e.

In the fourth heat, conducted once again with the Polaris, Vettel tried his best to uphold his hopes of forcing his rival into a tie-break round but small errors handed the win and the ROC Champion of Champions title to Loeb although the Aston Martin driver lost out by just 0.786s.

Loeb’s triumph in Sweden puts the 47-year-old Frenchman on the same level as his countryman Hubert Auriol, with the two drivers sharing four victories each in the ROC Champion of Champions.

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