Neuville disqualified from Safari Rally for recce rules breach

Neuville disqualified from Safari Rally for recce rules breach

Thierry Neuville was disqualified by the Safari Rally Kenya stewards late on Sunday evening after breaching the Sporting Regulations regarding recce rules.

Neuville make his way up to P8 in the overall classification after retiring on Friday as his suspension failed in a heavy compression. The Belgian went on to win the final Power Stage to take away a total of 9 points from a disappointing weekend in Kenya.

However, late Sunday night, Neuville was disqualified by the event’s FIA stewards after “A person connected with the Crew of Car No. 11 travelled on or over the route of two (2) Special Stages, after reconnaissance, without authorisation.”

“The Stewards summarised the finding of the report received from the Clerk of Course that was initiated independently by the Rally Organiser.

“It indicated instances where an unauthorised person was seen, after reconnaissance, to be driving on routes that would be used as Special Stages over the course of the Rally.

“The person was on private property without authorisation and was stopped by Officials in two (2) locations on two (2) different days. The evidence presented to the Stewards indicated links of
this person to the Crew of Car No. 11.”

Neuville “promptly admitted” that he “was aware of the identified person”

According to the stewards’ document, Neuville “promptly admitted” that he “was aware of the identified person and that he had requested this person’s support in identifying specific concerns” regarding areas where rocks had moved some special stages.

Further, co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe “highlighted the Crew’s concern when it comes to the safe navigation of the challenging routes and how they perceive some ambiguity to what constitutes corner-cutting and the anti-cutting measures that the organiser was perceived to have introduced following reconnaissance,” the document reads.

Article 35.4.2 of the WRC’s Sporting Regulations stipulates that “After the publication of the Supplementary Regulations, only with the express authorisation of the Clerk of the Course and the FIA Rally Department may any person connected with an entered crew travel on or over the route of a special stage of the rally (except on foot).

“This rule shall apply until that special stage is terminated, open for public traffic and will no longer be used within the rally,” the Sporting Regulations state.

Neuville from P2 to P5 in championship standings

Neuville loses the 9 points that he had achieved at the Safari Rally, meaning that he drops from P2 to P5 in the championship standings. The Belgian is now 47 points behind championship leader Kalle Rovanperä.

Rovanperä was initially 37 points clear of Neuville (who was P2) in the standings but is now 41 points ahead of the new driver in P2, Elfyn Evans.

Further, Neuville’s disqualification means that Ott Tänak was declared the winner of Safari Rally Kenya’s Power Stage.

Photo: Hyundai Motorsport