Louis Deletraz has been handed a 10-second time penalty for his part in a collision with title rival Tom Dillmann in the first Formula V8 3.5 race at Jerez
Fortec driver Deletraz clashed with title rival Dillmann at Turn 9 in Saturday afternoon's opening race as the pair squabbled for position.
While Dillmann retired on the spot, Deletraz was able to continue and his provisional fourth-place finish had gifted the Swiss racer a one-point lead over long-standing championship leader Dillmann in the title race.
But stewards announced during the race that the collision was under investigation, and later handed Deletraz a retrospective 10-second penalty - laying blame for the collision firmly at the Swiss' door.
The imposition of the penalty drops Deletraz out of the points, instead returning AVF driver Diillmann to the points lead.
"There was a yellow flag at Turn 8, as there was a crane next to the track in the gravel," said Frenchman Dillmann.
"Earlier in the lap, [Deletraz] had already tried to pass at the hairpin, but was too late on the brakes and I was able to re-pass when he ran wide on the exit.
"Entering Turn 8, I was two car lengths ahead. I backed off because of the yellow, like you are supposed to do, and on the exit he was on my gearbox.
"Then I braked late for Turn 9. He tried to brake later, and touched my rear-right wheel with his front-left.
"I don't blame him for trying to overtake, but I think they [the officials] blamed him more for gaining time on the yellows, which was not fair."
Fortec team boss Jamie Dye disagreed with Dillmann, and istead believed Deletraz had every right to make a passing attempt where he did.
"In every one of the drivers' briefings, they are told to give room when a car is alongside," he said.
"[Dillmann] ran on a wide line every lap [at Turn 9], and always opened the door.
"We knew we had to make a surprise move on him - otherwise he was going to keep going all the way around wide in Turn 9, and go over the track limits in Turn 10.
"For 10 laps he did that and didn't get a penalty.
"Knowing that the yellows were 'there', and the green flags were 'there', we did a move.
"The gap was there and then Tom closed the door.
"The officials said Louis made too much of an opportunistic move, but you can see that there is easily a car width from the TV footage.
"The 10-second penalty is ridiculous.
"Tom's only defence was that Louis was taking an advantage from the yellow flags. That was it, so he knows he has cut us up."
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