Dusseldorf - Frenchman Sébastien Ogier emerged victorious in his first outing in the Race Of Champions.
In the finale he beat eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen who had previously beaten Michael Schumacher in the semi-finals.
Ogier, 27, who drove a Citroen in this year's World Rally Championship, and will contest the WRC from 2013 for Volkswagen, demonstrated his outstanding driving abilities and inspired around 40 000 enthusiastic spectators in the Arena in Düsseldorf.
During the competition, staged between the world’s best drivers, Ogier was the fastest in the field comprised of Formula One world champions Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button as well as DTM Champions Martin Tomczyk, Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekström and other motorsport greats. Among the race cars used for the Race Of Champions were the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, Audi R8 LMS and the rally Škoda Fabia S2000.
“My first outing in Volkswagen overalls and this in Germany and then victory in the Race Of Champions - I’m absolutely delighted," said Ogier. "They were exciting races against fantastic opponents. It’s not easy for a newcomer to master the many different cars and the track, but I had a good feeling from the word go. It was a great honour for me to be invited for the first time to participate in the Race Of Champions. My thanks also go to the fans that made the atmosphere electric.”
“Sébastien really impressed me and he certainly has a big future ahead of him in rallying,” said Kristensen.
“The entire Volkswagen team is proud of our new Champion and is delighted with Sébastien about this magnificent win," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "It’s obviously fantastic that Ogier has won (his) first prestigious title... only two weeks after his signing, and this against a line-up of such high quality.”