It was, for a while, all everybody was talking about. Would Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo have taken Dani Sordo’s win off him to help Thierry Neuville’s title aspirations?
Yes he would. Of course he would. Unless you’ve spent the last two years living beneath a rock, you’ll have noticed that Adamo’s the master at staring down the biggest of big decisions.
“If a decision could guarantee me one-two, I would have a deep thought about it,” Adamo told DirtFish. “I’m paid to take these decisions.
“But you know me: I care about what I can do, about what I cannot, I don’t waste time to think about.”
How could they have done it?
The easiest and cleanest way would have been to have done it in the powerstage. But to do this, they needed Sordo on the startline with Neuville and Sébastien Ogier through, so the team could give the Spaniard a target time to hit in his i20 Coupe WRC.
That game was up for two reasons: with just a single second splitting second and third, hitting a target time to the tenth of a second would be tricky.
And secondly, Sordo was already up and running by the time Ogier completed.
“For sure, there was nothing to do,” Neuville told us. “The gap was too small to play games.”
The other option, the slightly more public option, would have been to check Sordo in a minute late at the final control – TC16C, service out – holding area in at the finish.
Point 44.2.10 of the FIA’s WRC sporting regulations dictates: “Any difference between the actual check-in time and the target check-in time shall be penalised as follows: a) For late arrival: 10 seconds per minute or fraction of a minute.”
For this to work, Neuville needed to be anything between 0.1 and 9.9s behind Sordo, with Ogier 10.1s or more behind the Spaniard.
Applying 44.2.10 as it stands would indeed have added an extra seven points (25 for a win as opposed to 18 for second place) to the Belgian’s tally, but it would also have gifted Ogier an extra three points (18 for second as opposed to 15 for third).
The result of this would have narrowed the gap between Neuville and Ogier in the title race from 10 to six points, but it would have reduced Hyundai’s seven-point lead in the makes race to a single point. However if Ypres Rally Belgium and Monza end up being canceled, then that would still have landed Adamo the title he desires most.
All of the above could hardly be described as being in a nutshell, but that’s why Adamo didn’t switch positions and why Sordo kept his second Sardinian win in succession – before his underweight rear subframe was under consideration of course.