Whincup to face rally champ in opening ROC group

V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup

V8 Supercars champion Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup will face reigning champion Sébastien Ogier in the opening group of the Race of Champions at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium next week.

Following the draw for the group stages, Whincup will take on Ogier, former F1 driver David Coulthard and Production World Rally Champion Benito Guerra in ‘Group A,’ with the top two in each group advancing to the knock-out finals.

Australia’s other participant Mick Doohan will face the likes of current F1 and MotoGP champions Sebastian Vettel and Jorge Lorenzo in the group stages.

In the ROC Nations Cup, Team Australia will take on five-times Nation Cup winners Team Germany, Team Thailand and Team Asia in Group B.

See below for the full list of competitors and groups.

The Race Of Champions is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012 and brings together the world’s best drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines, pitching them into head-to-head battles in identical machinery.

Ahead of the two main feature events, there will be two special races on December 14 (Friday). First, the best drivers from the host nation will battle it out for the ROC Thailand crown.

The two finalists will then represent Team Thailand in the first-ever ROC Asia against Team India (Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok), Team China (Han Han and Ho-Pin Tung) and Toyota Team Gazoo Japan (Kazuya Ohshima and Takuto Iguchi). Both Team Thailand as host nation and the best-placed other ROC Asia team will progress to the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday.

Along with the stellar driver line-up, the Race Of Champions features a wide array of vehicles including the powerful Audi R8 LMS, VW Scirocco, Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo and the Toyota GT86. They will run alongside ROC favourites including the ROC car, KTM X-Bow and Euro Racecar.

Race Of Champions (Sunday December 16)

Group A
Sébastien OGIER, WRC star and reigning ROC ‘Champion of Champions’
Jamie WHINCUP, V8 Supercar Champion 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008
David COULTHARD, 13 Formula 1 grand prix victories
Benito GUERRA, Production World Rally Champion 2012

Group B
Tom KRISTENSEN, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner
Andy PRIAULX, three-time World Touring Car Champion
ROC Asia 1, top non-Thailand competitor from ROC Asia
ROC Thailand 1, winner of ROC Thailand

Group C
Sebastian VETTEL, Formula 1 World Champion 2012, 2011, 2010
Jorge LORENZO, MotoGP World Champion 2012, 2010
Mick DOOHAN, five-time 500cc MotoGP World Champion
ROC Thailand 2, runner-up from ROC Thailand

Group D
Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
Ryan HUNTER-REAY, IndyCar Series Champion 2012
ROC Asia 2, second-placed non-Thailand competitor from ROC Asia
Romain GROSJEAN, three Formula 1 podiums in 2012

ROC Nations Cup (Saturday December 15)

Group A
Team France (Sébastien OGIER & Romain GROSJEAN)
Team Great Britain (David COULTHARD & Andy PRIAULX)
Team Americas (Ryan HUNTER-REAY & Benito GUERRA)
Team All Stars (Tom KRISTENSEN & Jorge LORENZO)

Group B 

Team Germany (Michael SCHUMACHER & Sebastian VETTEL)
Team Thailand (The two finalists from ROC Thailand)
Team Australia (Mick DOOHAN & Jamie WHINCUP)
Team Asia (The leading ROC Asia team other than Thailand)

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