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The stage is set for ROC

The Race of Champions (ROC) is finally here!

Thousands of Barbadians are expected to flock to Bushy Park tomorrow to watch some of the world’s best drivers compete in one of the most anticipated racing events on the calendar.

After witnessing the Top Gear Festival in May, motor-sports enthusiasts will no doubt be salivating over the opportunity to see champion drivers from several disciplines –– including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar and World Rallycross –– in action.

Workers were busy putting the final touches around the track and the facility yesterday, while the international drivers got in their final practice sessions on the newly renovated track.

Setting up the jump for the super trucks. Inset, Drivers during a practice run on the track.

Setting up the jump for the super trucks. Inset, Drivers during a practice run on the track.

In an interview with the media, several of the drivers expressed their excitement at competing in the event and said they couldn’t wait to hit the track over the weekend.

“Tom [Kristensen] said we are here for fun . . . but we are also here to fight, we give everything,” said Petter Solberg, the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Champion.

“The track here is very different to the ones in stadiums, but at the same time it’s hard. There have even been some crashes already this morning –– which is also fun. But I’m looking forward to it, and the Barbados weather is not so bad compared to Norway now. This is a perfect place to have the Race Of Champions.”

Scotland’s David Coulthard, 13-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner, admitted that while he had competed in ROC before, the Bushy Park track was unlike any he had ever raced on.

“Being here in Barbados for the first time you can tell there is obviously lots of grassroots level racing. I hope this event adds to that and makes it more of an international destination. I’ve only ever done the stadium style of Race Of Champions but this is big and open so it will be a lot faster,” he noted.

Susie Wolff, the official test-driver for the Williams F1 team, and the first woman to compete at the ROC, admitted that she couldn’t wait to get onto the track this weekend.

She said judging from her practice runs, she will need to be very fast if she is to have any chance of becoming the champion.

“The circuit’s great but my first impression after watching all these guys is that I’m really going to have to put my foot down. You don’t get much of a warm-up so you have to go for it. It’s a challenging track, but jumping in and out of the different cars is really, really good fun.

“It has been fantastic to be with the Williams F1 team as they turned round their worst ever season last year to third place in 2014. But the one thing I miss is the adrenaline from racing. That’s why it’s great for me to be here this weekend, to get the buzz of racing again,” Wolff insisted.

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