2002 Canary Islands


ROC winnerMarcus Grönholm
ROC finalistSébastien Loeb
ROC semi-finalistsDuval and Rovanperä
ROC Nations Cup winnersUSA (J Gordon/J Johnson/C Edwards)
ROC Nations Cup finalists Italy (R Travaglia/F Giovanardi/M Melandri)


The 15th Michelin Race Of Champions was won by Finland’s Marcus Grönholm, who was delighted to add the 2002 Champion of Champions title to his 2002 World Rally Championship crown.

The Finn, whose previous best was finishing runner-up to compatriot, Tommi Mäkinen in 2000, beat Sébastien Loeb in a tensely fought final, eclipsing the French challenger by 2 heats to 1, and by just a bonnet-length in the decisive third heat.

On his way to the final Grönholm had seen off spirited challenges from 2001 and 2002 ROC Junior Champion, François Duval and American NASCAR star, Jimmie Johnson. Loeb had defeated 2001 Champion of Champions, Harri Rovanperä in his semi-final.

In the ROC Nations Cup team competition, the title of The World’s Fastest Nation went to an all-star team from the USA made up of NASCAR superheroes Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson plus biker Colin Edwards. The trio owed much to Edwards’ immaculate record driving the Honda Blackbird-powered ROC Cars, in which he won all his heats.

The Americans beat the Italian trio of Marco Melandri, Renato Travaglia and Fabrizio Giovanardi in the final. Earlier in the weekend, Duval defeated local hero, Fernando Suarez to claim his second ROC Junior title. Sweden’s former Indy 500 winner Kenny Bräck beat off Jeff Gordon’s challenge to win a special ROC America contest.