Romain Grosjean has won the individual Race of Champions title, beating endurance racing legend Tom Kristensen 2-0 in the final at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium.
The 26-year-old upheld France’s honour in defending the individual title won by rally driver Sébastien Ogier last year, following the pair’s run to runners-up spot in Saturday’s Nations Cup event. He becomes the fourth driver from his country to win the crown, with Didier Auriol and Sébastien Loeb having won the titles previously.
Grosjean gained further credit by being the only driver in the 2012 event’s history to beat Nations Cup winners Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel; he knocked out the latter in the quarter-final after Vettel damaged his suspension, and then beat Schumacher in the semi-final.
Kristensen’s path to the final featured a semi-final victory over David Coulthard, after beating Ogier in the quarter-final stage of the tournament.
The event featured two drivers flying the Australian flag. Five-time motorcycle champion Mick Doohan made it as far as the quarter-finals before being soundly beaten by Schumacher, while reigning V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup couldn’t get beyond the ‘heat’ stages in his maiden ROC appearance.
But the glory was rightly on Grosjean, who capped off an impressive – albeit crash-laden – first full-time season in F1 with Lotus.
“It’s a very good feeling – yesterday in the final, and then today winning,” he beamed.
“It’s been a long time I haven’t been on the podium actually. To come back at the top level is pretty good. Last year Sébastien Ogier was champion of champions, now myself: now we need to go for the Nations’ Cup.”
He now awaits to see if Lotus will opt to extend his contract for the 2013 F1 season and beyond.