The Barwa World Rally Team driver completed the 22-stage event at the top of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship standings in seventh overall in a Ford Fiesta S2000.
However, a post-event scrutineering report issued by the technical delegate from the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body, stated that the fuel cell ventilation valves did not conform to the technical regulations.
After deliberation, the event stewards took the decision to exclude Al-Attiyah and co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini. It would have been the duo’s first win in the SWRC.
Ken Skidmore, whose respected Autotek Motorsport concern runs Al-Attiyah’s Barwa World Rally Team entry, explained that the car was in a damaged condition when it was purchased and rebuilt by his preparation company. However, he said that the team did not check the ineligible part during the rebuild process.
Skidmore confirmed that his team would not be appealing the decision. As a result, Martin Prokop, in another Ford Fiesta, inherits his first SWRC victory with Red Bull Skoda driver Juho Hanninen moving up into second place. Estonian Ott Tanak now completes the top three finishers in his MM Motorsport Fiesta.
After being informed of the decision, a dejected Al-Attiyah said: “I’m bitterly disappointed. I’m looking to win the championship this year. This is a rally I like very much and a rally where I have a lot of experience. We did not get any advantage through this and it’s very bad after such a great race where we made no mistakes.”
Prokop added: “I feel very bad for Nasser because this did not change anything about his speed and for me [exclusion] was not the best solution. He did a very good job and although I will think to these points later in the season, at the moment I am thinking I was only in second place.”
"We did not get any advantage through this and it’s very bad after such a great race where we made no mistakes."