Sébastien Ogier has been penalized one minute for driving while his belts were not correctly fastened on SS2 of Rally Croatia.
Ogier picked up a puncture midway through the second test on Friday morning, forcing him to pull over and stop the car so it could be changed.
Remarkably, Ogier and co-driver Vincent Landais managed to change the wheel in just 1m07s, but once back in the car, Ogier began to pull away before he and co-driver Landais had completed fastening their seatbelts.
Landais’ HANS device was also not correctly positioned.
As a result, Ogier has been awarded a one-minute time penalty by the stewards, dropping him from fifth to seventh place.
“The driver of car No. 17 Mr Sébastien Ogier explained that after changing a flat tire on SS2, he had buckled his safety belts and had started to drive initially slowly until the safety belts were properly fastened,” read the document from the stewards.
“He had then asked confirmation from the co-driver Mr Vincent Landais if he was ready and if they could start driving. The co-driver had confirmed this.
“He also explained that after they had started to drive faster the safety belts were fastened, but he admitted that he was trying to position the FHR device until the end of the stage. Mr Sébastien Ogier stated that he was unaware that the co-driver had not positioned the FHR device nor that he had incorrectly fastened the safety belts, as the co-driver had confirmed earlier that he was ready to start.
“The co-driver apologized for this lapse.
“The sporting director, Mr Kaj Lindström, added that Art. 53.1 of 2023 FIA Sporting Regulations states that the safety belts must be fastened while the car is motion and confirmed that the drivers had the safety belts fastened but not correctly tightened.
“Mr. Kaj Lindström submitted to the Stewards the data from car No. 17, showing that during the first 13.5 seconds the car was moving slowly.
“The video evidence from car No. 17 shows that after the tire change on SS2, whilst the driver had fastened the safety belts soon after he had started to drive, the co-driver did not have the safety belts properly fastened.
“At the beginning the car was moving slowly for approximately 13 seconds and the co-driver managed to buckle the safety belts but afterwards, while the driver had started to drive faster, the co-driver was still tightening the safety belts for a certain time and was trying to position the FHR device correctly under the safety belts.
“The co-driver managed to fasten the safety belts correctly approximately 34 seconds after the car was in motion from the tire change location and until the end of the stage. Furthermore, the co-driver had tried to position the FHR device correctly under the FHR belts.
“The stewards conclude that it is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure that the safety equipment is fastened, tightened and used correctly throughout the stage.
“The stewards find that it is the driver´s responsibility to ensure that all the safety measures inside the car are being fulfilled during the special stages and driving with incorrectly fastened safety belts and incorrectly positioned and tightened FHR device is unsafe.”