The 2013 instalment of the Race of Champions, which was scheduled to take place on the weekend of December 14-15, has been cancelled due to ongoing political unrest in the event’s host city, Bangkok.
Following a very successful event last year, the annual motorsport festival – which pitches drivers from many championships against each other in a variety of machinery – was set to return to the 65,000-capacity Rajamangala National Stadium.
But supporters of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) took to the stadium to counter an anti-government protest.
Bangkok has been gripped by violent demonstrations for the past week, as activists call for the resignation of current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Four people have been killed so far in the protests.
Having closely monitored the developments, the Race of Champions had no choice but to call off the event.
“The Sports Authority of Thailand and the organisers of the 2013 Race Of Champions have announced that the event cannot take place as planned on December 14-15 due to the current political situation in Bangkok,” a statement issued by the ROC reads.
“Our thoughts are with the Thai people during this difficult period and we wish that a peaceful solution will soon be found. The Race Of Champions has been held all over the world for 25 consecutive years and we are currently looking at options of repeating the success of last year’s event in Bangkok on another date.”
The event was set to attract a number of high-profile motorsport stars, including Formula 1 racers Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, as well as Le Mans star Tom Kristensen and World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier.
Last year’s event saw Team Germany (headed by Schumacher and Vettel) successfully defend its Nations Cup title, while Romain Grosjean triggered an upset by winning the individual crown.