MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

WRC teams to ignore FIA request on Mexico tactics

 World Rally Championship teams have disregarded communication from the FIA asking them not to take a tactical approach to the Rally Mexico Power Stage.

Sebastien Ogier

Sebastien Ogier took penalties to start last month’s Rally Sweden Power Stage late in an effort to run further down the order when the road offered more grip.

There is an expectation that the same thing will happen in Mexico on Sunday. In an effort to defuse this situation, the teams were contacted by the governing body and advised to come up with a solution.

There is no rule prohibiting a late check-in at any control.

The teams have not come up with a solution and, as one senior source told Motorsport.com: “How can it be our job to do this? Each team is going to do what is working the best for themselves. This is the job of the FIA.”

Hyundai team manager Alain Penasse told Motorsport.com: “There has been a precedent with Ogier. We thought about this same thing in Portugal with [Hayden] Paddon, but we didn’t do it because of the ethics of the sport and the live television.

“But it’s clear that if somebody did it once then we have to follow – there’s no other solution.

“I don’t say it’s the wrong thing for Ogier. The rules are there and I would do the same in his position. He didn’t do anything wrong, I give respect to the [M-Sport Ford] team. It takes balls to do what they did.”

Citroen’s Kris Meeke echoed Penasse’s feelings, but added: “Nobody could blame Seb for what he did in Sweden, it made complete sense.

“But after that event surely somebody could have come up with a simple regulation change to say that any late check-in for the Power Stage would result in them losing any points if they finished in the top five.

“Something like that would have put an end to all of this. But now we go to the Power Stage with the potential for there being nothing to show for 20 minutes – that’ll be great live television.”

Source: Story by David Evans published by motorsport.com

Related story: Meeke’s Mistake