Stefan Rzadzinski amazes crowd with incredible performance in Race Of Champions debut

- Nissan Micra Cup driver from Edmonton accelerates career development by taking on the world's best motorsport drivers in ROC Nations Cup -

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - This past weekend, Nissan Micra Cup driver Stefan Rzadzinski experienced what the motorsport community is calling a "racer's dream," the opportunity to compete at the Race Of Champions (ROC). The Race Of Champions is an annual event bringing together the world's finest motorsport drivers for head-to-head battles. On Sunday, Rzadzinski teamed up with fellow Canadian and IndyCar star James Hinchcliffe to represent Team ROC Factor Canada in the ROC Nations Cup, and put on a stunning performance to win two out of three heats.

The ROC Nations Cup aims to decide the fastest country on earth. Drivers team up with their fellow countrymen in pairs, and compete in identical cars against drivers from opposing nations. In the first round, Rzadzinski and Hinchcliffe each competed in three close races against some of the world's greatest drivers. No stranger to one-make racing, Rzadzinski showed off his skills acquired through two seasons competing in the Nissan Micra Cup, and his time competing in open wheel, NASCAR and touring cars.

Rzadzinski put on a spectacular performance, winning two of the three races and establishing himself as a driver with immense talent and potential. In his second race, Rzadzinski beat Alexander Rossi, winner of one of the most prestigious racing event in the world, the 2016 Indianapolis 500. In his third race, Rzadzinski won against Scott Speed, a previous Formula One driver and two time Global Rallycross Champion. In combination with Hinchcliffe's results, Team ROC Factor Canada earned three points, which was not enough to move on to the second round. Regardless of the outcome, Rzadzinski surprised the ROC crowd and organizers, driving cars he had no experience with and doing it remarkably well.

"Competing at the Race Of Champions has been incredible at every turn. I am honoured to compete alongside some of the best motorsport drivers in the world, and am extremely pleased with the results," said Rzadzinski. "I didn't want to be here just because of the social media votes, I wanted to prove that I can drive proficiently in any environment, and hopefully I was able to do that. I still have a lot to learn, but this has been an invaluable learning experience. I am humbled and thankful to my supporters, and the ROC team. I hope this isn't my last ROC appearance."

A dream-come-true, Rzadzinski won this opportunity after entering the ROC Factor competition. Open to anyone in North America, 10 drivers were chosen to battle in a social media voting contest for the single winning spot, and Rzadzinski was one of the lucky drivers to be selected. Competition was tight, as Rzadzinski was up against Conor Daly, a popular IndyCar driver from the U.S. who received numerous celebrity endorsements. In order to secure the winning spot, Rzadzinski put his trust in his family, friends and local community of Edmonton, Alberta. To his surprise, he received an insurmountable level of support that spanned across Canada.

Through frequent and heartfelt social media updates and media interviews, Rzadzinski rallied an influential list of supporters including Premier Rachel Notley of Alberta, Mayor Don Iveson of Edmonton, Mayor Naheed Kurban Nenshi of Calgary, the Edmonton Oilers and Andrew Ference, a former NHL player. Overall, 26,000 votes were cast in the ROC Factor social media contest and of these votes, Rzadzinski received nearly 10,000 from supporters who were with him every step of the way. Rzadzinski's win was impressive, earning him the right to battle some of the world's best at the first Race Of Champions to take place on North American soil.

"What's beautiful about ROC Factor is that it gives unknown drivers an opportunity," said Fredrik Johnsson, founder and CEO, Race Of Champions. "Stefan has done amazing job first getting here, mobilizing so many people to support him, and now here in the race, he's impressed everybody, competing in cars he has never driven before against the world's most experienced and fastest drivers. Stefan is very impressive and has a big future ahead of him."

Rzadzinski, 24, started karting at the young age of eight years old and has been competing since 2001. Most recently, Rzadzinski competed in the first two seasons of the Nissan Micra Cup, the most affordable racing series in Canada. Sponsored by the Groupe Touchette and racing in an Ici Pneu/Tireland car, Rzadzinski has earned 13 podium places overall in the Nissan Micra Cup, including four first place wins. Overall, Rzadzinski finished third in the 2015 season and fourth in the 2016 season, making him a frontrunner in the series.

Nicolas Touchette, CEO of Groupe Touchette, was onsite at the ROC to support Rzadzinski. On Saturday, he announced that Rzadzinski will be returning to the Nissan Micra Cup in 2017 with Groupe Touchette to hopefully earn the coveted first place championship title.

"Stefan is an extremely talented driver with the heart and commitment that every motorsports hopeful needs, so watching him compete first-hand at the Race Of Champions this weekend was incredible," said Jacques Deshaies, promoter of the Nissan Micra Cup. "The Nissan Micra Cup was created to help propel the careers of young drivers in the world of motorsports. Stefan's strong ability on the track is an example of how the Nissan Micra Cup helps foster talent, and we can't wait to see what his future holds."

"Nissan Canada has been following Stefan since his first year competing in the Nissan Micra Cup and we are proud of his continued success," said Joni Paiva, president, Nissan Canada Inc. "We are excited to welcome Stefan back to the Nissan Micra Cup track for 2017, and we look forward to what we know will be a thrilling season."

For more information and to download photos of Stefan Rzadzinski at the Race Of Champions, please visit NissanNews.com.

For more information on the Nissan Micra Cup and to follow Rzadzinski's journey, please visit www.nissan.ca/micracup.

About the Nissan Micra Cup
Sanctioned by Auto Sport Québec (ASQ) and presented by JD Promotion & Compétition with the support of Nissan Canada, the 2016 Nissan Micra Cup exclusively features the stock Micra 1.6 S M/T model with minor modifications, including NISMO suspension - to render it race-ready.

Unlike most motorsport events, each competing Nissan Micra race vehicle has the exact same specifications, resulting in a competition that truly reveals the most skilled drivers. The Nissan Micra Cup race vehicles were equipped with the Nissan Micra's stock 1.6-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine with dual fuel injection and Twin CVTC (Continuously Variable Timing Control) and stock 5-speed manual transmission. In its inaugural season last year, more than 25 Nissan Micras competed on each race weekend which included two hours of track time consisting of: a 30-minute trial, a 30-minute qualifying session and two 30-minute races.

Young karting drivers, the average Canadian looking for an entry point into motorsport competition, or anyone who wants to experience the rush of adrenaline inherent with racing cars are all well-suited to this series. In summary, the Nissan Micra Cup is for people who are passionate about motorsports, want to experience all the fun and thrills of racing, but without spending staggering amounts of money.

For more information on the Nissan Micra Cup, please go to the website www.nissan.ca/micracup.

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.INFINITIUSA.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and INFINITINews.com.

About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2015, the company sold more than 5.4 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 12.2 trillion yen. Nissan engineers, manufactures and markets the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan manages operations in six regions: ASEAN & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America and North America. Nissan has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and Mitsubishi Motors since 2016 under the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.  You can also follow @NissanMotor on Twitter.

About Nissan Canada Inc.
Nissan Canada Inc. (NCI) is the Canadian sales, marketing and distribution subsidiary of Nissan Motor Limited and Nissan North America, Inc. NCI directly employs 306 full-time staff across offices in Vancouver (BC), Mississauga (ON), and Kirkland (QC). There are 194 independent Nissan dealerships, 41 INFINITI retailers and 45 Nissan Commercial Vehicle dealers across Canada. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year and World Car of the Year awards.

More information about Nissan in Canada and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.nissan.ca and www.INFINITI.ca.

SOURCE Nissan Canada Inc.

For further information: Media contacts: Didier Marsaud, Director, Corporate Communications, Nissan Canada, Tel: 905-629-6400, Email: didier.marsaud@nissancanada.com; Jenn McCarthy, Cohn & Wolfe, Tel: 647-259-3305, Email: jennifer.mccarthy@cohnwolfe.ca

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