Previous WRC2 leader Stéphane Lefebvre is one of several drivers to have been handed a half-hour penalty by the Monte Carlo Rally stewards for an offense involving his route note crew.
Lefebvre and co-driver Andy Malfoy, competing in a Citroën C3 Rally2 this weekend, had headed the WRC2 class by 1.4 seconds after Friday’s stages and clung onto the lead on Saturday’s first test – albeit by just 0.2s – over Andreas Mikkelsen and Torstein Eriksen.
But the pair have now tumbled down the order as their route note crew was deemed to have “driven between the flying finish and stop line of SS8 Val-de-Chalvagne / Entrevaux 2 whilst cars were competing on the special stage” on Friday afternoon.
This is a breach of Article 12.2.1.h of the FIA’s International Sporting Code, which relates to unsafe acts and failure to take reasonable measures to prevent an unsafe situation.
Fellow Rally2 drivers Pierre Ragues, Elwis Chentre, Pierre Pergola, and Jean-Luc Morel all received the same penalty for a similar offense.
In all cases the route note crews were deemed to have left their vehicles in an unsafe position that “represented an unacceptable risk of a collision to the competitors who were slowing from the flying finish to the stop line, and to the RNC”.
Confirmation of the five 30-minute penalties swiftly followed a bulletin from clerk of the course Alain Pallanca reminding competitors that each route note crew can “cover no more than one passage of each special stage” and must “in now way interfere with the schedule of the rally”.
Mikkelsen now leads the WRC2 classification by more than a minute from Marco Bulacia.