source : www.autosport.com
By Matt Beer
Wednesday, June 10th 2009
Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel have become the first big names to sign up for this year's Race of Champions, which moves to Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium for 2009.
The seven times Formula 1 world champion and his race-winning compatriot will pair up for Team Germany again in an attempt to win the Nations Cup element of the competition for a third successive year, before taking part in the individual competition as well.
"The Race of Champions is always big fun to compete in," said Schumacher, who has twice reached the individual RoC final but is yet to win the end-of-season event.
"It's the perfect combination of fighting on track and at the same time having fun together, and this comes across to the audience. The spectators feel this special atmosphere and ultimately enjoy themselves as much as we do.
"I'm really looking forward to joining in again this year, and am curious to see how the Chinese spectators will react to our crazy show on the track in the famous and beautiful Olympic Stadium. I'm sure they will love an event that has been entertaining European motorsport crowds for over 20 years.
"What's also important to me is that ROC helps raise money and awareness for ICM, the Institute for advanced research on Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders, which is under construction in Paris and that I have been a supporter of for several years."
Red Bull driver Vettel, who reached the quarter finals of last year's competition, added: "The event is always a lot of fun and to compete in the Bird's Nest is going to be amazing. I think everyone still has the image of this fantastic stadium in their memories from the Olympic Games last year."
The 2009 RoC takes place on 3-4 November, two days after the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and has moved to Beijing this year after two seasons at Wembley.
Schumacher and Vettel join Clivio Piccione and Emmanuele Pirro in the RoC line-up, the latter pair having earned their places by winning last weekend's South Europe regional final in Portugal for Team Monaco.