Ogier gets Mexico penalty, M-Sport appealing

Group Rallying Editor
@davidevansrally

M-Sport will appeal a penalty that cost World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier his four powerstage bonus points from Rally Mexico.

Rally winner Ogier was penalised for touching the barrier at a chicane and had 10 seconds added to his stage time, dropping him from second in the powerstage results to seventh.

The stewards’ decision stated: “Car #1 did not go around the elements of the chicane as shown in the roadbook at box 18 of SS22”. This was judged to be in contravention of article 14.2 of the sporting regulations, which focuses on the “defined roadway” of the “compulsory itinerary”.

Ogier confirmed M-Sport was fighting to get the penalty overturned.

“We are working on this to explain ourselves because it was not deliberate at all,” he said.

“Before the stage, it was me who asked for clarification on what would happen [if you touched the barrier].

“I’m always the first one to try to fight for equal conditions and in this I wanted to be clear what would happen.

“I said to Julien [Ingrassia, co-driver] that we should suggest the organisers put water in the barriers [to make them heavier]. I wish I had done this.

“If we had gained a lot of time from this, but I’m sure we can prove on the data that we can prove this isn’t the case – it’s going to be one tenth [of a second] or two at the most.

“For me, this 10-second penalty is not in any way fitting with what happened.”

The FIA’s safety delegate Michele Mouton agreed with Ogier, telling Motorsport News: “As a driver, I think this is too much. Ten seconds is too much.”

Clarification was sought following the first pass of the stage, where Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville clouted all three barriers in the chicane but went unpunished.

Despite the penalty, Ogier still leads the championship by four points over Neuville following his second win in three rallies.

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