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Sebastian Vettel

Loeb beats Vettel to win thrilling Race of Champions final

Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Loeb went head-to-head in the snow and ice in the Race of Champions final, with Vettel looking impressive on a day where other F1 drivers struggled. However, it was Loeb who ultimately triumphed.

Sebastian Vettel RX2e
To news overview © Race of Champions

Sebastien Loeb has beaten Sebastian Vettel to win the Race of Champions after an impressive round of duels in treacherous weather conditions.

A thrilling finale in the snow and ice at Pite Havsbad in Sweden saw Loeb take an initial advantage against the F1 driver, with Vettel hitting a wall on the first of five heats. It looked a little closer in heat two, with only two tenths between them after the first lap, but Loeb again won the heat by 3.6 seconds.

The third heat threw up a shock. Racing electric rallycross cars, Vettel almost went into the bridge on the first lap, giving Loeb an edge. However, there was a rare mistake from Loeb when he had an off, allowing Vettel to take the heat.

This gave Vettel a chance to even the score in heat four. It looked close between the two drivers, but it was ultimately Loeb who won the heat, thus giving him his fourth Race of Champions title.

Strong performances in the semi-finals

Vettel reached the final after a difficult day for the Formula 1 contingent, having won against W Series racer Emma Kimilainen in the opening battles of the day before beating IndyCar's Colton Herta in the next rounds, making up somewhat for Team Germany's early exit at the hands of Team USA in Saturday's Nations Cup.

Despite the worsening snow in the semi-finals, Vettel continued his run of form by triumphing against Tom Kristensen, multiple winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in the first two of three heats.

Meanwhile, Loeb faced off against Mattias Ekstrom in the penultimate round, and suffered a big slide in the opening heat. However, the Frenchman managed to pull it back and, whilst Ekstrom took the second, Loeb was victorious in the third heat, putting him through to the final to face Vettel.

Vettel the best F1 driver as others suffer early exit

It was Vettel who proved to be the strongest performer from the F1 world in Sunday's event, with others having been knocked out in the opening rounds.

Mick Schumacher was beaten by W Series champion Jamie Chadwick by 1.4 seconds. Chadwick then went up against Herta, but ended up having an off in the snow.

Meanwhile, former McLaren drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard lost out to Jimmie Johnson and Tom Kristensen respectively.

Whilst the weather conditions looked tricky to manage, Vettel said that the event had been a "a lot of fun", and joked that he had to change his usual Formula 1 approach of trying to avoid going sideways.

It comes after father and son combination Petter and Oliver Solberg won the Nations Cup for Norway on Saturday.

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