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Germany claimed the Race of Champions Nations Cup title for the fifth consecutive year in Düsseldorf this evening, with home drivers Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher comfortably fending off their Nordic rivals in the overall final. In front of a packed crowd at the Esprit Arena, the pairing delivered a stylish joint effort.
The Formula 1 stars made relatively light work of their fellow competitors in the opening series of knockout races, but they notably failed to amass the highest number of victories. That impressive total of five triumphs was earned by British duo Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx, the team that Germany would ultimately beat for a place in the coveted final.
With Button beating Schumacher in the first of those semi-final clashes, Vettel had to outrace Priaulx to keep the nation in the running. The 2011 F1 Champion confidently managed to do so, therefore setting up a shootout with Button in the KTM X-Bows. When the decisive race got underway, the pressure appeared to get the better of Button who slid out of contention, paving the way for a Nordic/Germany finale.
Schumacher bounced back from his previous defeat to seal an important victory in the first outing against Le Mans ace Tom Kristensen, with Vettel promptly backing up that success against WRC pilot Juho Hänninen. With yet another title decided in Germany’s favour, Schumacher and Vettel jubilantly celebrated their achievement in the centre of the stadium.
"It’s fantastic teamwork," Schumacher commented. "I failed a little bit in the semi-final and he (Vettel) sorted it out, but now we did it again for number five! Tomorrow it’s another story. The first competition is done obviously for our country, and we’re very proud to have done this and put our name on the trophy. But we’ll be even more proud to represent Germany again tomorrow and have a great result for one of us at least."
Sunday's individual Race of Champions gets underway at 2pm local time (GMT +1)
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|Race of Champions 2011|
|5 Dec '11||Video of the Day: RoC highlights|
|4 Dec '11||Latest photos: Race of Champions in Düsseldorf|
|4 Dec '11||Ogier beats Kristensen for RoC crown|
|4 Dec '11||Video of the Day: RoC Nations Cup highlights|
|28 May||Video: Schumacher at the Nordschleife|
|21 May||Video: Schumacher, Rosberg at Nordschleife|
|20 May||Photos: Schumacher drives the Nordschleife|
|25 Apr||Schumacher gets F1 run at Nordschleife|
|16 Jun||Horner: Vettel agreement perfect timing|
|11 Jun||Vettel extends contract with Red Bull|
|10 Jun||Horner praises 'totally commanding' Vettel|
|10 Jun||Video: Vettel pilots speed boat in Hamburg|
|19 Jun||Book F1 tickets and join the action live!|
|19 Jun||Ellinas hails 'very special' maiden F1 test|
|19 Jun||Video of the Day: The evolution of Formula 1|
|18 Jun||Lotus sells 35 percent stake to investor|