Rally News

Neuville fined €10k for Rally Portugal WRC time card breach

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

The duo finished fifth, 8m22.5s adrift of rally winner Kalle Rovanpera, after a turbo problem on Sunday cost them a shot at a podium finish having started the day sitting third overall.

To compound the disappointing end to their rally, FIA stewards issued the fine to be jointly paid by the duo after they failed to submit their time card at the of stage 17.

As per FIA WRC Sporing regulations an absence of a stamp or signature from any control, the absence of a time entry at a time control or the failure to hand in the time card at each control, the crew concerned will be considered to have retired from the rally at that control point.

Concerned by the turbo issue Wydagehe was taking a photo of the i20 N’s dashboard to send to the team engineers and forgot to hand in the time card before Neuville pulled away from the control.

Wydaeghe initially claimed that he handed in the time card before apologising for his lapse in the stewards hearing, admitting that had forgotten this procedure due to being under pressure.

Given the circumstances the crew were facing stewards used their discretion by issuing a fine rather than a disqualification from the event.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Reflecting on Sunday’s turbo issue, Neuville believes the problem could have stemmed from a human error.

“It is something related to the turbo, it looks like probably there was a small human error yesterday and we had trouble straight after leaving parc ferme,” he added.

“It wasn’t fixable, we just tried to optimise the power of the engine somehow to take the maximum from it but there was not a lot.

“It is not related [to the smoke which poured from his i20 at Saturday night’s media zone] because all those parts have been changed and somehow it is related because when we put the new parts in a mistake has been done.”

In addition to Neuville and Wydaghe’s fine, team-mate Dani Sordo, who finished second, has also been issued with a 1,000 euro fine for wearing a personal cap instead of the cap used by the promoter during the final podium.

Stewards attached a 15,000 euro suspended fine to this sanction pending no further breach of this regulation this season.

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