Adrien Fourmaux and co-driver Alexandre Coria have been reprimanded, and their M-Sport team fined €2000, for leaving the finish holding area of Rally Finland and failing to attend the podium ceremony.
The M-Sport crew claimed their first World Rally Championhip-2 podium of the season in Finland after an impressive drive in their Ford Fiesta Rally2, finishing eighth overall and 33.8 seconds behind category winner Sami Pajari.
But the Frenchmen have been reprimanded and issued a suspended €1000 fine, with M-Sport slapped with a separate fine, for breaching Article 66.1 of the WRC’s sporting regulations relating to the podium ceremony.
In a stewards’ hearing held on Sunday afternoon, Coria explained that he had instructed Fourmaux to approach the time control to leave the holding area because “next to the actual start time, it was written ‘maximum time 30 min’; (the crew started SS22 at 13.35 hrs and left the holding area at 14.00 hrs)”.
Both Fourmaux and Coria “declared that they were not aware of Art. 12.15 of the supplementary regulations, which stipulates that, contrary to the prescriptions of Appendix IV to the 2023 FIA WRC sporting regulations, the podium procedure would have been combined for the powerstage and the rally in general”.
The team representative, Céline Guès, “confirmed that she had received the podium procedure from the FIA media delegate on Sunday morning but due to some communication misunderstandings inside the team, the information was not given to the crew’s members of car No. 26”.
As for the ‘maximum 30 minute’ instruction on Coria’s time card, that related to the maximum time to complete the powerstage, not the target time to reach TC22A.
The stewards’ document added: “Art. 12.16 of the supplementary regulations indeed stipulates that the powerstage holding area starts at the STOP control and ends at TC22A.
“In that area cars were under parc fermé rules. Between the STOP control and TC22A all cars were neutralized and the crews had to follow the marshals’ orders.”