Armin Schwarz to partner with Bernd Schneider
Germany is the latest motor sport nation to announce its line-up for the 2005 Race of Champions – Nations Cup which takes place in Paris on Saturday December 3rd.
DTM star Bernd Schneider will join forces with WRC veteran
Armin Schwarz at the Stade de France where, in addition to the seven other national teams already confirmed. They will face opposition from Team PlayStation France represented by Sébastien Bourdais, who recently claimed his second consecutive Champ Car title, and eight-times Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel.
The other national squads already announced for this annual clash of motor sport champions are Benelux, Brazil, Finland, France, Great Britain, Scandinavia and the USA.
For Armin Schwarz, widely recognised as one of the most spectacular drivers in world class rallying, this year's Race of Champions – Nations Cup will be the final outing of his long career, since he has announced his intention to retire from competitive motor sport at the end of the year. Meanwhile, his experience – not only of the event, but also of many of the cars that will feature in Paris – will be of immense benefit to his team-mate and ROC rookie Bernd Schneider who rounded off his 2005 DTM campaign with an emphatic win in the wet at Hockenheim.
"Armin and I have been friends for something like twenty years now, so it will be nice to team up with him at last in the Race of Champions – Nations Cup," says Bernd whose glittering personal record includes no fewer than four DTM titles. "I watched last year's event at the Stade de France on TV and it struck me as a fantastic show. The spectators have a first class view of the whole track and it's great to see so many top champions from across the world competing together. My fellow DTM runner Jean Alesi told me a lot about it just after last December's event and I'm looking forward to it very much."
After coming close to taking the Champion of Champions' crown on a number of occasions (defeated finalist in 2001, semi-finalist in 1994 and 1999, 'ROC-Rally Masters winner in 1999 and 2000), Armin Schwarz would love to conclude his long career with a victory in this year's Race of Champions.
"I feel in great shape and the Stade de France is a terrific venue," he says. "The all-asphalt circuit marks a big change from the rally-style stage we used to use when the event was based in the Canary Island's. You have to drive differently, but with so many spectators around you, the stadium atmosphere is unique. With everyone so close to the action, it's almost like driving a race car in your living room!"
Meanwhile, the demand from new teams has convinced the organisers to expand the number of competing teams in the ROC-Nations Cup. Previously announced 'wild card' drivers Sébastien Bourdais and Stéphane Peterhansel will team up in Paris to form the Team PlayStation France which takes the total number of line-ups already confirmed to nine compared with eight in 2004.
Press release Race of Champions – Nations Cup