Protests against Solberg’s Hungary result thrown out

Solberg Jr accused of rules breach for running with only three tires on a liaison section


European Rally Championship title contender Oliver Solberg has had multiple protests against his Rally Hungary result waved away by stewards.

Solberg finished fourth on Rally Hungary, narrowly missing out on a podium finish in a close fight with Efrén Llarena in the closing stages on Sunday.

But the protests concerned an incident one day earlier, where Solberg had suffered two punctures on the final Saturday loop of stages, the second of which came on the last stage of the day.

Having run out of spares, Solberg drove between the final stage and end-of-day service with only three tires still fitted to his Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, with his left-rear completely down to the rim.

Solberg said he stopped and changed the punctured left-rear – for a less damaged tyre – as soon as it was safe to do so on the liaison section.

Both Saintéloc Junior Team – which runs overall ERC points leader Alexey Lukyanuk – and ERC1 Junior championship leader Grégoire Munster filed protests alleging a breach of Article 34.1.5 of the FIA Regional Rally Sporting Regulations.

“On a road section that is a public road and at the start of a stage, a competition car may only be driven on four freely rotating wheels and tyres,” states said article.

“Any car not complying with this article will be considered as retired as per Article 54. An additional penalty may be imposed by the Stewards.”


A car that retires between the final stage of a leg and end-of-day service before the final day is considered to have retired on the preceding stage, so a 10-minute restart penalty would have applied had Solberg parked his Fabia on Saturday evening.

While Solberg’s car was running with only three tires at the time of the alleged infringement, both protests were thrown out by the rally stewards, as the protests were deemed to be a breach of the FIA International Sporting Code.

“According to Article 13.4.1 and 13.7.4 of ISC the protest was logged by several competitors against one,” read the stewards decision from Saintéloc’s protest, highlighting that both it and Munster had both filed protests against the same infringement.

“A protest lodged jointly by several Competitors will not be accepted,” reads Article 13.7.4 of the FIA ISC.

Munster’s protest was thrown out for a different reason; his team did not pay the required protest fee in time when filing its protest.

Fourth place preserves Solberg’s hopes of winning both the overall ERC and ERC1 Junior titles, although he still has a 26-point deficit to Lukyanuk in the former and has now fallen one point behind Munster in the latter.


Despite the two punctures costing him any chance of capitalising on Alexey Lukyanuk’s five-minute penalty – which was handed out for an early check-in to stage six’s time control – Solberg was still satisfied with his end result.

“Fourth place is not so bad,” said Solberg.

“Of course, it’s frustrating to be so close to third, but I’m happy with the speed we showed today to bring down that gap.

“This was the first time I competed with the Škoda on Tarmac and these stages were really not easy ones.

“They were nice roads, but the changes in grip and the surface – going from mud, to lots of mud to dry, then wet… it made it really complicated.

“But that’s why I’m here. I wanted to learn from this rally and I really learned a lot.”

Two rounds remain on the ERC calendar, with Canary Islands Rally and Spa Rally both scheduled for December.