Ogier fined for “exhibition driving” after WRC Rally Spain victory

Ogier fined for “exhibition driving” after WRC Rally Spain victory

The eight-time world champion scored his first WRC win since Rally Monza last November after beating Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville by 16.4s on the Spanish asphalt roads.

The victory helped Toyota secure a sixth WRC manufacturers’ title.

However, WRC stewards have issued the 38-year-old with a reprimand and a 1500 euro fine for breach of the regulations for “exhibition driving” prior to the final podium in Salou.

The stewards report states that Ogier thought he was driving in an exhibition area where donuts could be performed.

It read: “The Stewards heard from the Team Manager Mr. Kaj Lindstrom at 18:00 on 23 October 2022.

“He apologised that the driver was not able to attend the meeting, but he had a phone call with the driver to get his explanation.

“The Team Manager stated that the driver saw how one preceding car started with the launch into the podium area and he thought this was an exhibition area prepared to perform doughnuts. The Team Manager apologised for this incident.

“The Stewards nevertheless note that, pursuant to Article 34.1.3 of the 2022 FIA WRC Sporting Regulations, “exhibition driving may only be performed when permitted by the supplementary regulations of the rally”.

“This was not the case here, neither in the Supplementary Regulations nor in a Bulletin. The driving behaviour, which the Stewards consider to be “exhibition driving”, did in this case represent an unsafe act.”

Stewards also issued a five-second penalty to Hyundai’s Dani Sordo after it was found his Hyundai i20 N performed an illegal hybrid boost during the rally ending powerstage.

Sordo’s car was found to have produced a 0.08kJ hybrid boost without a valid regeneration.

Rally1 cars are required to regenerate 30kJ of energy before a hybrid boost can administered via the throttle pedal.

“The representative of the Competitor explained that after the start launch of SS19 the car boosted 0.08kJ without a valid regen, which is due to latency in the communication system and exceptionally hard braking,” read the stewards report.

“As this problem had never occurred before (also not while testing), the team did not have any idea that this could happen. The Team Manager [Pablo Marcos] stated that this mistake is possible to avoid in the future.

“The Stewards considered that, although the performance advantage was negligible, the minimum regen 30kJ value was not met in order to have an extra boost. They therefore decided to impose the above penalty, also considering that it is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure compliance of the car at all times.”

The penalty resulted in Sordo losing the bonus championship point gained for finishing fifth on the powerstage, but the Spaniard retained his fifth overall finish.

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