Sébastien Ogier has been fined €2000 [$2319] for overtaking a vehicle on the hard shoulder and failing to stop when being shown to by local police on Saturday of Rally Spain.
The offense occurred on the way to the Salou stage on Saturday evening, and is Ogier’s second stewards breach of the weekend as he was also fined €200 for wearing his balaclava outside of his racing suit on SS6 of the rally on Friday.
It’s also Ogier’s second traffic-related incident of the season, as he was fined €7000 and given a six-month suspended ban for hitting a traffic car in Croatia.
That was a breach of Articles 12.2.1.c and 12.2.1.h of the FIA International Sporting Code, while Ogier’s offense this weekend was in violation of Article 34.3.1 of the 2021 WRC sporting regulations which explicitly mandates that crews must observe the national traffic laws.
That means that although Ogier’s penalty falls within the six-month suspension period by a matter of days, no ban is applicable and instead he was solely fined.
The stewards reasoned that “the mitigating circumstances surrounding this case concurred that the above penalty [the fine] was consistent and appropriate”.
The stewards’ hearing was held on Sunday morning in between the two loops of stages with Ogier, co-driver Julien Ingrassia and Toyota sporting director Kaj Lindström all present.
The document read that Ogier stated: “At the roundabout where the incident had happened the road was blocked by the police. He admitted having overtaken the car in front of him on the right-hand side and he apologized for this lapse.
“Nevertheless, he stated that he had not understood the hand signs made by the police officer because the officer was not in front of the car queue and very often such signs are made to help the rally cars drive through the traffic jam. Furthermore, he added that he drove through the roundabout at low speed.”
Event steward decided to conduct further investigations with the clerk of the course, requesting a report from the police officer involved in the incident.
At 9.30am on Sunday morning the ASN steward received a phone call from the police’s representative “who stated that the queue was the consequence of a road blockage due to a routine control”.
The police representative also confirmed “that the driver overtook the car in front of him on the right-hand side when approaching the roundabout and that the signs shown to car no. 1 may have not been clear as the officer was not placed directly on the driving line of the car”.
Ogier was fined by the police for the incident but it has no bearing on his Rally Spain result or championship points.
He finished fourth overall, losing seven points to rival and team-mate Elfyn Evans – who was second and quicker than Ogier on the powerstage – in their fight for the championship.