Normally a competitor in the World Rally Championship’s lower-tier WRC2 category, Benito Guerra took home the overall Race of Champions title on home soil Sunday in Mexico City. The 33-year old took down FIA WEC champ and Formula E ace Loic Duval in the final round to take the title in a huge upset.
The roster of ROC champions looks like a who’s who of motorsport history, including rally champs like Sebastien Loeb, Sebastien Ogier, and Marcus Gronholm, as well as touring car legends like Mattias Ekstrom and open wheel aces like David Coulthard, Romain Grosjean, and Sebastian Vettel. To be added to this list of Champion of Champions must be an absolute honor, and is hopefully indicative of the skills Benito Guerra possesses.
In the history of the ROC, it has never before been hosted in a Hispanic American country, so to have a Mexican driver win the overall on Mexican soil, while driving the Mexican-built Vuhl sports car is a huge point of pride for the nation’s many up-and-coming motorsports drivers.
Of course, by virtue of the event being held close to home, Mexico sent far more racers than any other country, with a six-deep roster of talent in the form of Patricio O’Ward (Indy Lights champion), Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes AMG sim driver), Memo Rojas (4-time Rolex Sports Car Series champion), Daniel Suarez (NASCAR Cup Series driver), and Ruben Garcia (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver) in addition to Guerra. Strength in numbers, it would seem.
Mick Schumacher knocked Sebastian Vettel out in the first round, while O’Ward knocked David Coulthard out in the first round. With those two gone early, it was guaranteed that the ROC would crown someone who had never won the event before. That the winner was anything but a household name is a bit surprising, but hey, that’s why they run the race. Congratulations to the 2019 Champion of Champions, Benito Guerra.