We look back at Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato’s victory in last weekend’s ROC Nations Cup
BTCC’s Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato topped the world of motor sport last weekend as our tin-top greats stormed to the 2015 ROC Nations Cup title at London’s former Olympic Stadium. It was a major coup for the BTCC as our boys defeated Team Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hülkenberg by two heats to one in a thrilling final.
On a bitterly cold evening in the British capital, legends from the world’s biggest motor sport series teamed up in pairs to battle for national and regional pride. They raced a mix of cars – including the Mercedes-AMG GT S, Ariel Atom Cup, Radical SR3 RSX, KTM X-Bow, ROC Car, Euro NASCAR, RX200 and RX150 – on a brand new Olympic cycling-style pursuit track.
And what an evening of action it was – as Priaulx and Plato prevailed in the final against the might of Team Germany. In the first heat Priaulx delighted the home fans as he beat off the challenge of four-time F1 world champion Vettel. His fellow F1 star Hülkenberg struck back by beating Plato in the second heat, but Priaulx was just too strong for this year’s Le Mans winner in the finale as they became the first English team ever to win the ROC Nations Cup final.
Afterwards a delighted Priaulx said: “I had a great night. Germany have won it a few times so it’s nice to have a turn – and nice for me to win a race for once! I’ve been to the ROC Nations Cup final three times so to do the job is great. This competition is tough and it gets tougher every year so you have to be on your A game here because every race is like a qualifying session.
“It’s so easy to make mistakes but I’m really chuffed. Thanks to Fredrik Johnsson and all the guys at ROC for bringing us here. It’s brilliant to get the chance to race in front of our home crowd in London – what more could we ask?”
Plato added: “I made a few mistakes so Andy’s pushed me through it but it’s a fantastic feeling to win at home. Team Germany beat us in the final the last time we did it together so it’s actually an excellent rivalry. So this has to go down as one of the highlights of my career – to race against the calibre of these guys, who are the best in the world, and to have the positivity of racing in this venue. It can’t be underestimated what it means to race in front of your home crowds. We’re in an iconic stadium and you can hear them as you cross the line.”
Beaten finalists Team Germany also had a fine evening’s work, but they couldn’t quite add to the six ROC Nations Cup titles that Vettel won together with Michael Schumacher from 2007 to 2012.
Vettel said: “It hurts – a lot – but Andy drove fantastically tonight, so well done. They deserved to win and it’s especially nice in front of your home crowd. If you’re in the final you want to win but someone has to lose and unfortunately it was us today. We tried everything but it was their day so I’m also very happy for them.”
Hülkenberg added: “In the final I was struggling with the back end of the car so I was getting sideways but Andy was on great form and did a great job. So congratulations to them. To lose in the final does bother me. This is a fun event, but if you get so far you want to do it.”
PHOTO/VIDEO CREDIT: Race of Champions