Sébastien Ogier was levied with a €1500 fine and a reprimand for celebrating his Rally Spain victory by doing donuts before the podium ceremony, in an apparent misunderstanding.
After an 11-month wait, Ogier finally put his 55th World Rally Championship win on the board in Spain, and he celebrated by doing donuts in his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 immediately before the formal podium ceremony in Salou.
But those celebratory donuts came at a cost, as the stewards declared them an “unsafe act” as the Salou podium had not been declared as an ‘exhibition driving’ zone in the supplementary regulations, a pre-requisite for such driving per the WRC sporting regulations.
With Ogier not able to attend the stewards meeting, he relayed his explanation to Toyota team manager Kaj Lindström instead, who made representations on his behalf to the stewards.
“The Team Manager stated that the driver saw how one preceding car started with the launch into the podium area and he thought this was an exhibition area prepared to perform doughnuts,” read the stewards’ decision. “The Team Manager apologised for this incident.”
Regardless of apologies, Ogier was still given a fine and a reprimand for his actions.
“The Stewards nevertheless note that, pursuant to Article 34.1.3 of the 2022 FIA WRC Sporting Regulations, ‘exhibition driving may only be performed when permitted by the supplementary regulations of the rally’.
“This was not the case here, neither in the Supplementary Regulations nor in a Bulletin. The driving behaviour, which the Stewards consider to be ‘exhibition driving’, did in this case represent an unsafe act.”
There was no time penalty involved in the decision, so Ogier’s victory over Thierry Neuville stands unaffected.