- Jan 17, 2015
WRC drivers have gone in to the officials books again this year, however, it’s not for any record setting pace, it’s for breaking the rules and masking up a total of almost four-dozen infringements
In 2011, then privateer and fan favorite Peter “Hollywood” Solberg hit the headlines once again, although it wasn’t for what you would expect. During the early stages of Rally Sweden, which was round one of the World Rally Championship at the time, Solberg was caught speeding on the roads and as such the authorities invoked the law and his license was revoked. This meant that Solberg had to drive on limited time and no matter which position he was in or what stage it was on he had just 48 hours to drive and after that he’d have to stop. That being said, when the first ever power stage came along Petter was forced to switch seats and his Co-Driver Chris Patterson, made his WRC debut on live television and he was coached by Solberg right till the stage end.
This year, the marshals in Sweden had an even tougher task than that: Several drivers have been, fined, cautioned and a few even have impending penalties hanging over their heads if they break the rules again this season. The stewards at Rally Sweden found that during the event a staggering 44 infringements had been recorded and reported with 42 of those on the recce and the other two during the event itself. In rallying, as in all motorsport, safety is paramount. When the roads are not closed these roads are used in most cases by the general public, as such the FIA has put in place specific rules that deal with speeding on the recce and the event and they must be followed be all competitors or face their wrath.
In this age of technology, all recce cars are fitted with GPS tracking systems which monitors the speeds of cars during recce and unfortunately some drivers over stepped the 80 Km/h limit set. Usually first-time infringements are met with a simple fine based on the speed of the car. Multiple violations could see drivers having a time penalty hanging over there head, and that is the situation that Yuriy Protasov, Sebastien Ogier, Max Rendina, Lorenzo Bertelli and Michal Solowow find themselves in. This means that should Ogier break the rules again, he could be hit with a penalty that could possibly play a role into deciding the title race, now that is just pulling at straws, but there is a likelihood of this happening even if it’s just a few percent. Besides this bunch, others such as Kris Meeke, Ole Christian Vieby and Simone Tempestini must pay fines, but fortunately they didn’t breach the rules enough to warrant that hanging time penalty.
On the technical side of things, Robert Kubica and Martin Prokop have been found running with an excessive turbo boost and wheelbase irregularity respectively. This saw Kubica receive five added minutes to his time and Prokop fined. Kubica had already suffered a huge loss of time due to differential issue, so this added time was neither here nor there for him. However, we all know that technical breaches have cost drivers and team in the past, with the most recent being Mikko Hirvonen who had his first Rally in 2012 wrapped up until he was disqualified and Mads Ostberg was handed the win. No one protested the judgments made by the stewards, but this could be due to fact they it didn’t cost them vital points.
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