Petter Solberg, who wears a Stilo Zero helmet supplied by Nicky Grist Motorsports, reached the final of the Race of Champions for the very first time – finishing runner-up to the 2014 ROC Champion and 13-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner David Coulthard.

This year’s Race of Champions was the first international motorsport event to take place in Saudi Arabia, with 22 drivers from around the world driving cars such as the Vuhl 05 ROC Edition, Ariel Atom Cup, Xtreme Pickup, Whelen NASCAR, KTM X-Bow Comp R and the ROC Car on a purpose-built parallel track (featuring a crossover bridge) at the King Fahad International Stadium in Riyadh.

Once the heats eliminated most of the drivers, big names continued to fall in the quarter-finals – including Formula 1 and IndyCar legend Juan Pablo Montoya, Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2017 IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden and FIA European F3 runner-up Joel Eriksson. In the semi-finals, Coulthard beat nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, while Solberg knocked out his rallycross team-mate and the reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson.

In a very close and exciting final, Coulthard became ROC Champion for a second time, with a straight two-nil victory over Solberg.

“First of all, congratulations to David. I was doing everything I could to win it, but it wasn’t quite enough,” said Solberg. “David drove very well and he has the right mentality so this was very well deserved. He’s a better circuit driver than me, that’s for sure. I still like to be a bit more sideways! But I’m proud and happy to make it to the final against such a strong field.

“I’ve been coming to the Race Of Champions for many years. It’s incredible to get all these great drivers together and it was a great atmosphere again this time. So thank you to everyone watching in the stadium and around the world. We’ve been made to feel really welcome and the passion from everyone involved has been clear. Fredrik [Johnsson] and his team have done a fantastic job. I always enjoy this event and I’ll be back.”

“I had to work hard out there, and a big thanks to Petter for a great race,” said Coulthard. “He’s a great sport and a great champion. It’s also great to have been part of the first Race Of Champions here in Riyadh. It’s been a nice atmosphere and the people in the crowd have been treated to non-stop action.”