It'll be Schumacher vs Priaulx vs Gronholm at the 2007 Race of Champions
4 December 2007

Forget the football; any headlines made at the recently finished Wembley stadium this side of Christmas will be made by roaring engines, screaming tyres and superstar drivers, as all involved with the annual Race of Champions prepare for battle on December 16. This year's race will pit rally veterans, touring car winners and some bloke called Michael Schumacher head-to-head in legendary competition metal like the Audi S1 Quattro and the Aston Martin Vantage N24.Just days after Croatia knocked England out of the European Championships work began on a 1km asphalt circuit built on a temporary surface above the Wembley pitch (see gallery). Two tight, twisty tracks run parallel to one another – like a rally special stage – but there’s just about enough room for some sideways sliding action. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the unique event, previously held in the Stade de France in Paris, and will be a celebration of rally-legend Colin McRae’s life. There’ll also be an F1 car display from the Torro Rosso team and motorbike stunts. In the main event – the international championship race - Alistair McRae takes the place of his brother and will compete alongside David Coulthard for Team Scotland. Speaking at the press event, Coulthard spoke of his sadness over Colin’s tragic death and said it would be an honour to race celebrating his memory.Competitors are gathered from all over the world. Team England stars Jenson Button and WTCC champion Andy Priaulx, while Germany’s represented by Michael Schumacher and F1 rookie Sebastian Vettel.The Yanks have got NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson and X Games rally champ Travis Pastrama, while the French enter Indy 500 racer Sebastien Bourdais and ex-BTCC bad guy Yvan Muller. Team Scandinavia stars DTM racer Tom Kristensen and the multi-talented Mattias Ekstromm, who’s raced in DTM and World Rally.Finland will be favourites, being represented by F1 new boy and previous ROC winner Heikki Kovalainen and now retired two-times World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm. Finally, it’s a family affair for Norway who enter Henning and Petter Solberg, car control experts from the WRC.Tickets costs £30, so it’s not a cheap event, but it does promise to be a unique spectacle. Visit www.raceofchampions.com for more.

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Will Powell

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