Sebastian Vettel can tick a major experience off his bucket list after an outing in the Audi Quattro S1 with the “real” Stig.
Vettel had been in Sweden to contest the 2022 Race of Champions, where he bounced back from an underwhelming display alongside Mick Schumacher in the Nations Cup, to make it all the way to the final of the main Champion of Champions event, ultimately succumbing to a 3-1 defeat in the ‘Battle of the Sebs’ against rally legend Sebastian Loeb.
But speaking of rallying, Vettel’s highlight of the weekend came when he climbed into the passenger seat of the Audi Quattro S1 car, which was driven by none other than 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist.
Blomqvist was at the RoC demonstrating the Audi which he had driven to title glory.
We all know that Seb is not a huge fan of the Mexican Stig, having shoved him out of a podium photo in Mexico back in 2019, but a drive with the “real” Stig, that he was absolutely down for and made sure that it happened.
Sebastian Vettel + Stig Blomqvist + Audi S1 Quattro = a popular combination. Of all the sights and images I’ve seen over the last few days, nothing captures this year’s @RaceOfChampions quite like this. What a moment and what a photograph 👏 pic.twitter.com/7FkhCzk5ex — Scott Mitchell (@SMitchellF1) February 6, 2022
Asked if this was an experience to tick off his bucket list, Vettel, as quoted by The Race, replied: “More than that. I think the car is iconic, but then to have the chance to ride with the Stig – and the proper one not the made-up one – has been really cool.
“I’m very grateful that Stig still does these types of events and then I was begging to get into the car and I used the opportunity to go side by side.
“It was magical in many ways. So I really enjoyed it.”
Vettel though was quite happy taking in a demo run, as he was not so keen on the thought of being a passenger in that car during a Monte Carlo Rally for example.
“In that car, I’m not sure I would be a passenger in a rally like the Monte Carlo or another one with the longest straights and faster corners!,” said the four-time Formula 1 World Champion.
“But it was really cool.”
A pivotal Formula 1 season now awaits in Vettel’s career, as his Aston Martin team look begin their progression back up the pecking order with the aid of the new regulations.
The team’s Mercedes-influenced design backfired in 2021, contributing to Aston Martin’s drop to P7 in the Constructors’ Championship, but Vettel nonetheless needs a strong 2022 campaign to prove that his best days are not yet in the past.