Rally News

WRC drivers question “harsh” Solberg doughnut penalty

Oliver Solberg, Elliott Edmondson, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2

Solberg was leading the second tier WRC2 class by 35.4s when he performed doughnuts at the end of the Lousada super special on Saturday night, held on a bespoke Rallycross circuit in front of thousands of spectators.

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The Swede’s exhibition driving breached regulations that were introduced after Sebastien Ogier performed doughnuts prior to the final Rally Spain podium last year, albeit his infraction occurred in an area where fans were in close proximity.

Solberg was handed a one-minute penalty which ultimately cost Solberg the WRC2 win after falling 1.2s shy of Toksport team-mate Gus Greensmith and eventual winner who labelled the penalty as “unpopular” and “harsh” in the post-event press conference.

Solberg was however lucky to only receive a one-minute penalty as the FIA regulations state that a break of this regulation carries a minimum five-minute penalty.

The penalty was met with criticism from many within the service park having occurred at a time when there is plenty of discussion regarding ways the category can be more appealing to fans and manufacturers.

“Obviously there are many things which are going against each other,” said M-Sport’s Tanak.

“The first thing is doing doughnut in what the FIA said is not a safe environment and 10 seconds before you are going flat out on the same road. And then it’s suddenly unsafe.

“But also the regulation is written that if you do a doughnut you get a minimum five-minute penalty and then you give one minute, so why do you do regulation if nobody follows them?”

Oliver Solberg, Elliott Edmondson, Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

The FIA issued the following statement to Motorsport.com in response to why only a one-minute penalty was applied.

“The Stewards worked until 01:45 this morning to assess the situation and apply the regulations presented by the WRC Commission for FIA World Motor Sport Council ratification last December,” read the statement.

“The regulations were revised in response to an incident of exhibition driving before the final podium on RallyRACC Catalunya in October 2022 after which it was agreed that a monetary fine was not a suitable penalty due to the danger the incident posed to bystanders.

“On Rally de Portugal, the Stewards made a decision by taking into account all information available to them, including the statement by the crew that they had not read the regulations which are published before each…

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