Sunday, May 19, 2024

No Pite Havsbad for 2024 Race of Champions

In 2022, the Race of Champions decided to break from the usual pavement courses by racing on the snowy and icy surfaces of Pite Havsbad in Sweden. Although the new terrain proved to be a hit among competitors, the experiment has come to a rather abrupt end after just two years. On Friday, ROC announced that disputes pertaining to the land on which the event is held are preventing a return for 2024.

Located in Piteå near the Arctic Circle, Pite Havsbad is a resort often used for conferences and family activities. It sits by the Pitsundet strait, with beaches lining the coast, and ROC was held along this strip that is now under debate.

“Due to recent uncertainties regarding how the land area by the beach and the sea can be used, Pite Havsbad is unable to host the Race of Champions in 2024,” reads an ROC statement. “These unexpected challenges come after two hugely successful ROC events on Snow and Ice in Pite Havsbad.

“The 2023 Race Of Champions event at Pite Havsbad was watched by 21.5% of all viewers in Sweden on SVT1, and independent specialist agency Nielsen measured the Global TV exposure in 100+ countries to a value of over 44 million Euros.”

In a testament to their rally prowesses, Sébastien Loeb and Mattias Ekström won the two individual Races of Champions on the snow/ice while Petter and Oliver Solberg claimed the Nations Cup in both years for Team Norway.

ROC did not immediately name a new location or if it will continue to race on off-road.

After bouncing between Montlhéry, the Nürburgring, Barcelona, and Madrid in its first four years of operation from 1988 to 1991, the Race of Champions committed to a rally-style track in Gran Canaria from 1992 through 2003. The Stade de France hosted the first stadium-based ROC from 2004 to 2006, followed by Wembley Stadium (2007–2008), Beijing National Stadium (2009), Esprit Arena (2010–2011), Rajamangala Stadium (2012–2013), London Olympic Stadium (2015), Marlins Park (2017), King Fahd International Stadium (2018), and Foro Sol (2019). Barbados’ Bushy Park circuit welcomed the event in 2014.

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