Citroen urges stewards to check videos over gate controversy
Citroen has requested the FIA and Rally Argentina officials review onboard footage of the Cuchilla Nevada – Characato stage, suspecting some crews have gained time by deviating from the route.
Sebastien Ogier damaged the steering on his C3 WRC when he arrived at a junction which had been altered from the recce. On the two practice runs at the stage taken earlier in the week, the right-hand side of the road had been closed off with a gate. The road book indicates the correct route is to the left of the closed gate.
When Ogier arrived, the gate to the right was open – offering two possible lines through the right-hand corner. The Frenchman hesitated before following the correct route – that hesitation caused him to collide with a gatepost, damaging the powersteering.
Citroen team principal Pierre Budar confirmed to Motorsport.com that it had sought clarification of the line rival crews had taken.
Budar said: “It’s not our job to check. We have seen on some videos with two different lines, so it’s now for the FIA or somebody to check what is the proper line to be followed.
“The rule is very clear: we have to follow the road book and the road book is very clear: there is a barrier and you go [on the left]. During the recce the gate [on the right] was closed and there was also a barrier – we know this because we checked from the recce video. But now, on the rally, the road [on the right] is open.”
Ogier added: “We went to the left as we should, but we could see the line on the right side [of the gate]. For the moment, we believe, the ones who didn’t go [to the left] are going to have a problem because they didn’t follow the road book.
“On the recce this side of the road was blocked, that’s why I hesitated and then I hit a little bit the gate. It was really hard to drive the car without the powersteering – these cars are made to use the power [assistance], they don’t work without it. It wasn’t good.”
Ogier dropped 36s to fastest man to Ott Tanak in SS11 and slipped from third to fourth place.
Motorsport.com understands that any deviation from the route is something which would be dealt with by the event stewards in their meeting at the end of the day.
Argentina WRC: Tanak closes on lead, trouble for Ogier and Meeke
Argentina WRC: Neuville leads Hyundai 1-2, Tanak out