Mattias Ekstrom Claims Fourth Race of Champions Victory by Defeating Mick Schumacher
Mattias Ekstrom has won his fourth Race of Champions title after defeating Mick Schumacher in the final at Pite Havsbad in Sweden. Ekstrom, a two-time DTM champion, defeated Schumacher two-nil in the final. He had earlier defeated US rallycross driver Travis Pastrana and five-time World RX champion Johann Kristoffersson in the quarter-finals and 2016 World RX champion Thierry Neuville in the semi-finals. Schumacher had defeated Sebastian Vettel, his fellow Team Germany driver, in the semi-finals.
The final was contested in Polaris RZR machines, where Ekstrom won by 0.348s. In the second heat, Ekstrom won by over a second in the Supercar Lites, despite a small fire breaking out in the cockpit.
Oliver Solberg, who was considered a hot favorite, was eliminated in the quarter-finals against Neuville. In the eagerly awaited first-round clash between the Nations Cup victors, Solberg had beaten his father and 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg. Defending Race of Champions winner Sebastien Loeb lost to Neuville in the first round and a tie-break was needed to eliminate the nine-time world champion.