Nikolay Gryazin has lost his WRC2 class win on the Monte Carlo Rally to Yohan Rossel who protested the result on the grounds of corner cutting.
Gryazin dominated the majority of the Monte in Škoda’s new Fabia RS Rally2, but a puncture on Saturday’s final stage reduced his advantage over the chasing Rossel to just 10.2 seconds
A spirited Sunday from Citroën driver Rossel meant the contest went right down to the wire on the powerstage – but Rossel ultimately lost by 4.5 seconds.
However his protest against Gryazin, who Rossel believed was in breach of Article 19.2 of the WRC’s sporting regulations revolving around the road book, has overturned the result – a five-second time penalty for Gryazin handing Rossel victory by 0.5s.
Gryazin’s offense occurred on the stage he punctured, SS14 Ubraye / Entrevaux 2, at kilometer 13.2 of the 21.78km test.
Rossel, who was represented by PH Sport team co-ordinator Coralie Barbassat and head of Citroën Racing customer competition Didier Clément in the hearing, provided video evidence to support his claim.
Gryazin, who was present in the hearing, reasoned that his front-right puncture made it difficult for him to control his car and “respect the defined roadway” on the particular corner.
Toksport team manager, Jacek Wryzykowski, believed that “from the video footage shown it was very difficult to define if four wheels were all outside the defined roadway”.
I'm not sure if this is Gryazin, but it's SS14 and sounds like a new Skoda. That corner had the possibility to cut car width. #WRC #RallyeMonteCarlo pic.twitter.com/iOMakVSpH3
— Rallirinki / Teemu (@HartusvuoriWRC) January 22, 2023
But the stewards deemed Rossel’s protest admissable and therefore applied the five-second time penalty to Gryazin, thus handing Rossel victory.
It’s far from the only time the result of a WRC2 round has been decided in the stewards’ room.
Most recently Teemu Suninen lost WRC2 victory in Finland due to his Hyundai i20 N Rally2’s front bumper being underweight, handing Emil Lindholm a win that ultimately helped him on his way to last year’s title.
And Rossel himself lost WRC3 victory on the 2021 Acropolis Rally Greece after the front subframe on his C3 Rally2 was deemed to be overweight.