Benito Guerra takes Race of Champions crown in Mexico
In surely one of the biggest upsets in several years in the individual competition, Race of Champions 'Champion of Champions', it was World Rally privateer and home representative Benito Guerra who claimed the honour during Sunday’s RoC encounter at the Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City.
Guerra made it through to the final where he beat ex-World Endurance Champion Loic Duval 2-0, leaping around the Foro Sol Stadium to delight in his unexpected triumph.
Mexico had three of the four semi-finalists as ex-F1 racer Esteban Gutierrez and Patricio O’Ward also made it through competitive group phases, though the latter was edged out by Duval.
Gutierrez was beaten by eventual winner Guerra, who had an outstanding day, having knocked out Red Bull F1 racer Pierre Gasly in the quarter finals, which came off the back of a group win against four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel’s defeat against Guerra left him on the brink and while he picked up one group victory, his early exit was sealed when he was beaten in a straight fight against Nations Cup team-mate Mick Schumacher, meaning he was unable to add to his 2015 London win.
Schumacher’s strong Group C performances were ultimately in vain as he fell in the quarter final stage to Gutierrez.
Reigning Champion of Champions David Coulthard had an early exit and while fellow veteran Tom Kristensen at least made it through he was beaten by eventual finalist Duval, who himself had only made it through to Group B in a pre-qualifier against Helio Castroneves.
The other quarter-finalist was Johan Kristoffersson, whose two wins in Group B meant he made it through along with Duval, but rising IndyCar star O’Ward put paid to his prospects.
IndyCar stars Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay had another torrid day after a subdued Nations Cup showing, with the Penske driver picking up only a solitary win in his group, which was at least one victory more than Hunter-Reay managed.