Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe have been fined €10,000 for not submitting their time card at the end of SS17 on Rally of Portugal.
Hyundai driver Neuville finished a distant fifth in Portugal – expecting to finish at least third but losing several minutes as he cruised through all four of Sunday’s stages with a broken turbo.
SS17 was the first pass of the famous Fafe test which doubled up as the powerstage, but Wydaeghe forgot to hand in his time card.
Failure to hand in a time card at a time control normally results in the clerk of the course considering that crew retired, but event stewards showed leniency to Neuville and Wydaeghe because of the circumstances at play.
Wydaeghe initially claimed that he had handed in the time card, and in the stewards hearing explained that he was busy taking a picture of the Hyundai’s dashboard to send back to the engineers.
After his TV interview, Neuville then pulled away before the Belgian crew realized that they had not handed in their time card.
Wydaeghe apologized for this and added that when he first claimed that he had handed the time card in, it was for the same reason as explained above and he had forgotten to do this because of the pressure of the moment.
The stewards could have excluded Neuville from the final classification, but took several factors into account including Wydaeghe’s detailed account of events, the fact that in recent years COVID-19 precautions waived the process of handing over time cards and that the failure to follow procedure correctly had no impact on the correct running of the rally control.
However Neuville and Wydaeghe were slapped with a €10000 which is to be paid jointly and severally.
Their team-mate Dani Sordo also visited the stewards and was fined €1000 for wearing the incorrect cap at the final podium ceremony in Matosinhos.
Sordo, who finished second, won the Pirelli cap supplied by WRC Promoter on the podium after the powerstage, but at the final podium he was wearing a personal Red Bull cap instead.
The 40-year-old stated that he was not aware he couldn’t wear his own cap at this ceremony, but he still breached the WRC’s sporting regulations and was thus fined.
Hyundai was handed a suspended €15,000 fine for the incident, which lasts until the end of the 2023 season.
Sordo is the second Hyundai driver in the last two years to make such an infringement, after Ott Tänak on Rally Spain, 2021.