Team England claim Race of Champions Nations Cup crown
Priaulx and Plato beat Vettel and Hulkenberg in thrilling finale
By William Esler at the Olympic Stadium
Last Updated: 21/11/15 7:23pm
Team England claimed the Race of Champions Nations Cup title after defeating Germany in the final at London's Olympic Stadium on Friday.
The team of touring car legends Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato saw off F1 stars Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg to take the crown.
After a busy night of racing, a thrilling finale went all the way to a deciding third race after triple World Touring Car Champion Priaulx knocked out four-time F1 champion Vettel as the pair squared off in Radical SR3 RSXs. Hulkenberg then defeated Plato to level the scores setting up a tense finale.
Roared on by the home crowd, Priaulx won all seven of his races, beating Hulkenberg by 1.8 seconds in the decider - the first time a British nation has won the title.
"I had a great night. Tonight it all just hooked up. 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," said Priaulx.
"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."
Priaulx and Plato had to work for their success, taking part in an additional knockout round against Brazil's Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr.
That set up a clash with Team Young Guns' Jolyon Palmer and Pascal Wehrlein, who defeated Team All Stars Romain Grosjean and Sir Chris Hoy, who was deputising for the injured Jorge Lorenzo in the other preliminary round.
Priaulx defeated Wehrlein in the first round before Palmer levelled the scores against Plato. The Guernsey racer then defeated 2014 GP2 champion Palmer by six tenths in the decider.
One of the closest races of the night came in Team England 2's clash with Team Scotland in the quarter-finals. Driving KTM X-Bows, David Coulthard and Jenson Button were separated by just 0.0051 seconds, as the 2009 F1 world champion emerged victorious. That sent out Scotland, with Susie Wolff having already been defeated by Alex Buncombe by three seconds, and set up an all-English semi-final.
In a rematch of their 2014 rivalry, when Red Bull team-mates Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo went head-to-head early. Vettel emerged victorious from that contest by half a second to gain revenge following his defeat in that intra-team fight last year. Hulkenberg defeating Mick Doohan in the second heat.
Germany then faced defending champions Team Nordic, who progressed to the semi-finals with victory over Team Americas.
Vettel edged Tom Kristensen by 0.0663 to give Germany an early lead, before Hulkenberg ensured his nation progressed to the final by beating Petter Solberg.
Team England 1 (nicknamed 'Team Touring Cars') and Team England 2 (nicknamed 'Team Somerset') contested the second semi-final. Priaulx defeated Buncombe, with Button levelling the scores in the second race against Plato. Priaulx then won the decider by nearly three seconds against Button to progress to the final.
The racing continues on Saturday at the Olympic Stadium, with attention turning to individual honours as the drivers compete to be crowned Champion of Champions and you can see it all live on Sky Sports F1 from 3pm.