Bangkok: India's only two Formula One drivers, Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok, on Friday, won the 2012 Race of Champions Asia and qualified for the Nations Cup where they will be in the same group as defending champions Germany comprising of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher. (Twitpic, Photo credit: Narain Karthikeyan)
Team India defeated Japan 2-0 in the final after leading the group stage with four wins out of six races. Both the Indian drivers won three out of their four races enroute to victory.
Karthikeyan, who drove for HRT this year, was thrilled to win on his first visit to the ROC.
"It is an incredible feeling to be a part of Team India's success in the ROC Asia in only our first visit. It has been really tough with limited track time but at the end of the day we pulled it off," said Karthikeyan.
"Every race in a different car was a challenge and it feels good to win in identical machinery. Tomorrow is a whole new day and we will give it our best to do our country proud," he added.
World Endurance Championship driver Chandhok, who drove for HRT in 2010, Lotus in 2011 and JRM Racing this year, thoroughly enjoyed his first-ever ROC stint.
"I am really happy for Narain and me as we did a fantastic job to win ROC Asia. The competition was really strong and we were pushed harder than we thought.
"It's very special to create history as the first ever ROC Asia Champions against the top Asian racing nations. The atmosphere was amazing and I hope all the fans in India tune in to watch and support us on TV tomorrow," said Chandhok.
Schumacher and Vettel have won the team event for the last five years and will return to defend their crown this year.
The end-of-season contest, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year, brings together the world's greatest drivers from motorsport's main disciplines - including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, MotoGP, Indycar and the X-Games - and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
Driver's pair up for the ROC Nations Cup scheduled for tomorrow before the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday.
The Race of Champions is a knockout tournament where the world's greatest drivers battle to prove they're the fastest on Earth. Through a series of head-to-head races in identical cars on a parallel track, the stars fight it out to prove they have what it takes to be crowned 'Champion of Champions'.
The event starts with a group stage to ensure fans get to see plenty of action from every driver. The racers face up to each of the other drivers in their group, with cars swapped round between heats so they all have to prove themselves in a variety of machinery. The most successful drivers move on to the quarter-finals.
From there it's back to head-to-head, knockout competition to get to the semi-finals and then the Grand Final.
Story first published on: Friday, 14 December 2012 23:48 IST