Tough draw for Loeb

Tough draw for Loeb
By Eurosport

16/12/2006 at 15:10Updated

Sebastien Loeb has been given a tough draw in the quarter-finals of the Race of Champions in Paris after being paired against desert specialist ‘Nani’ Roma.

Frenchman Loeb, the defending triple world rally champion, will face the Spaniard in the first of four ties in the "rally drivers" section on Saturday night with the best of three bouts progressing to the final four.

In what is virtually certain to be the highlight of the round, former WRC title winners Marcus Gronholm and Colin McRae will face off while the two other ties see clashes between US rally champion Travis Pastrana and former Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel, and Citroen WRC driver Dani Sordo and Red Bull Skoda team boss Armin Schwarz.

The eventual winner of the rally section will take on the victor in the racing drivers' group for the overall crown.

As for the racers' section, local interest centres on triple ChampCar champion Sebastien Bourdais, who will be in action against double World Touring Car title-winner Andy Priaulx, and on SEAT WTCC star Yvan Muller, who has been pitched against Formula One star David Coulthard.

An all-Scandinavian tie sees Renault F1 newcomer Heikki Kovalainen take on Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, while the final tie will be between DTM driver Mattias Ekstrom and either rival Bernd Schneider or WTCC star James Thompson.

The draw for the 'Nations Cup' - which will kick off the day's action - was also made. Home fans will be given a treat straight away as the French 'A and 'B' teams take on each other in a preliminary qualifier, with the winning side taking on Spain in the quarter finals.

Elsewhere, USA - who are unique in only having one representative in Paris - take on Germany, Finland take on close rivals Scandinavia, while national pride is really at stake in the final tie as England and Scotland battle it out for a place in the semis.

Remember you can see both contests in LIVE streaming video on from 16:00 CET on Saturday.