Sat 23 Apr 2022

Neuville hit with additional penalty

Thierry Neuville has been handed an additional one minute penalty for ‘multiple severe speeding infringements’ during Friday’s opening leg of the Croatia Rally.

The Belgian had already been fined €1900 for driving at 156kph in an 80kph area as he hurried towards the mid-leg service in Zagreb after his Hyundai i20 N stopped with alternator problems on the liaison section after the morning’s final special stage.

The original infringement was reported to the event stewards due to additional violations and they met late on Friday night. They heard that the FIA’s in-car safety tracking device recorded multiple severe speeding infringements over a road section of approximately 11km.

Neuville attended the hearing with co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe and team manager Pablo Marcos.

Neuville stated that due to technical problems on his car he was late in approaching TC4A. He added that in order to reduce their delay they were ‘obliged to overspeed’, although they knew that was a breach of traffic regulations.

They stated that they had never put anybody at danger because at that moment there was no traffic.

The stewards’ decision said excessive speed represented a serious breach of the FIA International Sporting Code and neither the absence of traffic nor the intention of trying to reduce their delay could be taken into account to claim mitigating circumstances.

Both Neuville and Wydaeghe were also ordered to perform two days of public service at the discretion of the FIA within the next 12 months.

After their i20 N twice stopped on the liaison section, Neuville and Wydaeghe pushed the car the final 800m into service. The exhausted pair fell to the floor as they arrived four minutes late and received a 40sec penalty.

They recovered to end the day in second behind Kalle Rovanperä. But the 60sec penalty relegated them to fourth, 2min 04.0sec adrift and 28.8sec behind third-placed Craig Breen.

• Full coverage from the Croatia Rally will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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