Ekstroem Beats Schumi In Wembley Final
|Topics: Mattias Ekstroem, Michael Schumacher
December 17, 2007
In the 'Race of Champions' final at Wembley Stadium, Sweden's Mattias Ekstroem celebrated a noteworthy victory over German Michael Schumacher. After losing to Ekstroem, watchers say Schumi’s return to serious racing competition is uncertain.
"I will invite him to drive in DTM with me," grinned Ekstroem, a double champion in the German Touring Car (DTM) series who also won the event in 2006 at the Stade de France in Paris.
Schumi, the retired 7-time F1 World Champ who has tested with Ferrari this year, replied with a simple 'no' when asked whether the fun event had whetted his appetite for competitive racing, reported Reuters.
Nonetheless, Schumi grabbed the spotlight in an event gathering some of motorsport's leading lights. "We come here to enjoy ourselves, to be here for a good reason, for the ICM project, and to race," said Schumi, who was appearing to promote a brain and spinal injuries institute. "We do this as good as we can and sometimes one is better than the others. We all can live with this because it's not a championship, it's no pressure. That's what is good about it. If you do it, perfect and if not, no problem. We're going to have a drink together later and have some fun anyway."
Schumi was a winner earlier in the evening when Germany beat Finland, with new McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen, in the final of the Nations Cup team event. He and Sebastian Vettel of Toro Rosso also swept past the England team of Jenson Button and World Touring Car Champ Andy Priaulx, with Schumi Honda F1 driver Button in the individual event as well, the report continued.
Vettel saved Schumi’s blushes after the German stalled in his heat against Kovalainen. In the final decider, Vettel beat former World Rally Champ Marcus Gronholm and then Kovalainen.
According to the organizers of the event, 50,000 tickets had been sold for the event's first appearance at the home of English soccer, where England beat Germany in the 1966 World Cup final at the old stadium.
"There weren't any balls or any goals so maybe it was a little bit easier for us to win at Wembley today," said Schumi.
Race of Champions organizers paid tribute to the late World Rally Champ Colin McRae, who died with his young son in a helicopter crash at his home in Scotland last September. His brother Alister, taking part in the event, drove McRae's championship winning Subaru into the arena after a lone bagpiper had played.
"He lived his life at a million miles an hour and I know he would have been very proud to see the depth of respect for his achievements," said Coulthard. "I was very proud to know him."
Next racing season, the arena will still be as hot as it was before… or maybe hotter. With the makers of Ferrari engines, Audi CV joint, McLaren struts, Ford radiator and more, aficionados will be looking forward to another exciting season.
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