2008  Drivers named for The Race of Champions heats

The draw for tomorrows first round of The Race of Champions heats has been made at Wembley Stadium, revealing the first match-ups of the event. The 16 ROC drivers will face off against each other in a knock-out competition to find out who is the Champion of Champions tomorrow (Sunday, Dec 14). The opening round heats will be as follows: Gareth MacHale v David Coulthard Adam Carroll v Mattias Ekstrom Tom Kristensen v Michael Schumacher Jason Plato v Andy Priaulx Tanner Foust v Jenson Button Troy Bayliss v Sebastian Vettel Jaime Alguersuari v Carl Edwards Yvan Muller v Sebastien Loeb Eight times Le Mans winner Kristensen drew seven times Formula 1 World Champion in one of the tastiest races of the first round, while new boy Adam Carroll drew reigning ROC champion, Mattias Ekstrom.

There are a couple of inter-nation ties in the first round, with BTCC ace Jason Plato squaring up against three times World Touring Car Champion, Andy Priaulx.

Meanwhile, the two Team France team-mates, Muller and Loeb, will face off too. The Race of Champions gets underway at 5.30pm tomorrow, following the ROC Nations Cup. Tickets will be available on the gate at Wembley Stadium.

The Race Of Champions event on December 14 will be made up of two separate competitions The ROC Nations Cup and The Race of Champions. Each competition pits drivers against each other in a head-to-head knockout format, with equal equipment ensuring races are won and lost on talent alone. The ROC Nations Cup features drivers paired into teams based on their nationality. The teams then fight head-to-head against each other in knockout competition. Last year Team Germany (Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel) beat Team Finland (Marcus Grönholm and Heikki Kovalainen) in the final. The Race Of Champions is a straightforward knockout competition, where 16 drivers go head-to-head until the champion is decided.

In last years Final, Mattias Ekström beat Michael Schumacher in the third race of a best-of-three battle. Already confirmed for The Race of Champions 2008 are:

Seven-times F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher (Team Germany)
Eight-times Le Mans 24 Hour Winner Tom Kristensen (Team Scandinavia)
Five-times World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb (Team France)
Triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx (Team Autosport Great Britain)
World Touring Car Champion and former BTCC Yvan Muller (Team France)
Triple Superbike World Champion Troy Bayliss (Team Australia)
Double DTM Champion and two-times ROC winner Mattias Ekström (Team Scandinavia)
2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Carl Edwards (Team USA)
Red Bull Racing F1's David Coulthard (Team F1 Racing Great Britain)
Honda Racing F1 Team race winner Jenson Button (Team Autosport Great Britain)
Toro Rosso F1 racer Sebastian Vettel (Team Germany)
A1GP race winner Adam Carroll (Team Ireland)
2005 Irish National Forestry Rally Champion Gareth MacHale (Team Ireland)
US drift champion Tanner Foust (Team USA).

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