Ogier escapes penalty for first hybrid rules breach

The Monte Carlo Rally leader left the start ramp without using electric power, which is a new rule for 2022

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Sébastien Ogier has always been a driver associated with being first: top of the championship standings on eight occasions, leading this year’s Monte Carlo Rally after three stages, and now the first driver to breach hybrid regulations during the Rally1 era.

Luckily for Ogier his breach of the new hybrid rules was not out on the stages – but at the start ramp for the season opener.

Rally1 crews were supposed to use electric-only mode to drive through the starting ceremony and over the start ramp. Feeling rushed to exit after his interview, Ogier elected not to wait for his hybrid system to fire up again and instead drove away on internal combustion engine power instead.

Despite the rally roadbook mandating the use of electric power only, no penalty was levied against Ogier for the breach, with Toyota technical director Tom Fowler successfully pleading the case that Ogier and co-driver Benjamin Veillas didn’t have time to wait for the hybrid system to start up before leaving.


“Due to the length of the interview, the crew shut down the HEV systems on the car. The lengthy interview resulted in the crew being late away from the start ramp,” read the stewards’ decision.

“When Mr Ogier tried to start the car the hybrid unit was not ready. The start process for hybrid can take up to a minute and as they were already into their liaison time the decision was taken to start the internal combustion engine to clear TC0.

“Mr Tom Fowler confirmed that the start-up process for the hybrid unit can take up to one minute to complete. The crew were correct to shut down the systems in the car during the interview to save the power in the 12v battery.

“Mr Ogier apologized for leaving the high-profile start ramp using ICE power but he felt under pressure to clear the area. Both driver and co-driver confirmed that they had stopped just after TC0 to change to hybrid power and had completed the rest of the HEV Zone using this propulsion.”

Given Ogier’s attempts to engage the hybrid system as soon as he left the start ramp, along with his lateness to depart stemming from an overrunning interview rather than the crew’s own actions, they elected not to levy any penalty for the breach.

“The stewards recognized that the ceremonial procedures at TC0 start ramp initiated a scenario that had not been foreseen in advance of the event and that the crew did try to leave the control under hybrid power and did traverse the majority of the HEV Zone correctly.”