Rally News

Solberg loses WRC2 lead after penalty for performing “doughnuts”

Oliver Solberg, Elliott Edmondson, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2

The Toksport Skoda driver had dominated the second tier WRC class in Portugal having built up a 35.4s lead over team-mate Gus Greensmith at the end of Saturday.

However, Solberg attracted the attention of the FIA stewards for a piece of exhibition driving, where the son of 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg, elected to perform “doughnuts” following his run at the side by side Lousada super special, in front of a bumper crowd.

Stewards slapped Solberg and co-driver Elliott Edmondson with a one-minute penalty for breaching Article 12.21 of the supplementary regulations in conjunction with Article. 34.1.3 of the 2023 FIA WRC sporting regulations.

As a result of the penalty, Greensmith will lead the WRC2 class by 24.6s from Solberg, who has been demoted from sixth to seventh overall and is now second in class.

“The driver and co-driver stated that they did not know the regulations in relation to this matter and that they performed the “doughnuts” on the track of the Special Stage,” read the stewards report.

“Furthermore, the driver stated that SSS15 was a show special stage and for that reason he thought he had performed a good show for the spectators.

Oliver Solberg, Elliott Edmondson, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“They apologised for not knowing the regulations, adding that in their opinion they did not create an unsafe situation.

“Art. 12.21 of the Supplementary Regulations of Vodafone Rally de Portugal 2023 stipulates that exhibition driving is strictly forbidden everywhere due to lack of suitable place.

“The incident happened between the flying finish and the Stop Control of SSS15, where the driver had to follow the route indicated in the Road Book to exit from the track and to approach the Stop Control of SSS15.

“The Stewards, after having examined the case in detail, concluded that the driver did not respect the regulations; however, the place where the incident happened was in a part of a Special Stage which was setup for competitive driving and defined by concrete barriers.

“The Stewards, having considered the mitigating circumstances surrounding this case, concluded that the above penalty is appropriate.”

This isn’t the first time a WRC driver has penalised for exhibition driving. The FIA issued a reprimand and 1500 euro fine to eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier for performing doughnuts prior to the final podium after winning Rally Spain last October.

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