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Dec 2, 2002

Team USA Wins Michelin Race Of Champions Nations' Cup

<BR>Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/nov02/TeamUSA1.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">Photos courtesy Michelin Sport.<BR><BR>Team USA's Jimmie Johnson, Colin Edwards and Jeff Gordon won the fourth Michelin Race of Champions Nations' Cup at the Circuit Ciudad Deportiva Islas Canaries in Telde, Gran Canaria (of the Canary Islands) Saturday, November 30. Team USA beat out Team Italy's Marco Melandri (FIM 250cc Grand Prix Champion), Fabrizio Giovanardi (2002 European Touring Car Champion) and Renato Travaglia in the final round, three heats to two.<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/nov02/TeamUSA3.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">Having raced at the Michelin ROC in years past, Edwards drew on his experience to win both of his final heats, Gordon beat Giovanardi head-to-head, and Johnson came second to Travaglia by a small margin in the final round to earn Team USA the Nations' Cup.<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/nov02/TeamUSA4.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">A field of 36 drivers (including 16 current or former World Champions) of auto "circuit" racing, auto rally/off-road racing and motorcycle racing from nine different countries faced off, head-to-head, in Peugeot 206s, SEAT Cordobas, Mitsubishi Evo VIs and Honda CBR1100XX-powered buggies on parallel 1.6-mile asphalt/gravel courses.<BR><BR>Colin Edwards replaced original Team USA selection Travis Pastrana.<hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left"><img src="../issues/nov02/TeamUSA2.jpg"><hr noshade size="1" width="450" align="left">In addition to Edwards and Melandri, other motorcycle road racers in the Michelin Race of Champions included Britain's James Haydon (Foggy Petronas Racing, World Superbike), Spain's Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha, MotoGP) and Brazil's Alex Barros (Galouises Tech 3 Yamaha, MotoGP).<BR><BR>2002 CART Champion Cristiano da Matta (Brazil) and fellow CART racers Dario Franchetti (Britain) and Kenny Brack (Sweden) also participated in the event.<BR><BR>2002 World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm (Finland) won the Michelin Champion of Champions contest, to determine the fastest individual driver, on Sunday, December 1.<BR>