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Ogier handed penalty for WRC Rally Croatia seatbelt infringement

Stewards have handed World Rally Championship duo Sebastien Ogier and co-driver Vincent Landais a one minute penalty for a seatbelt infringement at Rally Croatia.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

The breach occurred on stage 2 when the Toyota pairing were forced to change a wheel after hitting a compression while leading the rally.

Ogier and Landais were able to change the wheel in a little over a minute and only lost 1m32s on the stage following the stoppage.

However, it has been deemed that Ogier and co-driver Landais didn’t have their safety harnesses correctly fastened while the car was in motion following the wheel change. Landais’ HANS device was also in an incorrect position.

As result, a one minute penalty has been issued, demoting the eight-time world champion from fifth to seventh overall heading into Saturday.

The stewards' report read: “The driver of car No. 17 Mr. Sebastien Ogier explained that after changing a flat tyre on SS2, he had buckled his safety belts and had started to drive initially slowly until the safety belts were properly fastened.

“He had then asked confirmation from the co-driver Mr. Vincent Landais if he was ready and if they could start driving. The co-driver had confirmed this. He also explained that after they had started to drive faster the safety belts were fastened, but he admitted that he was trying to position the FHR device until the end of the stage.

“Mr. Sebastien Ogier stated that he was unaware that the co-driver had not positioned the FHR device nor that he had incorrectly fastened the safety belts, as the co-driver had confirmed earlier that he was ready to start. The co-driver apologised for this lapse."

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Toyota Racing

It added: “The Sporting Director, Mr Kaj Lindström, added that Art. 53.1 of 2023 FIA Sporting Regulations states that the safety belts must be fastened while the car is in motion and confirmed that the drivers had the safety belts fastened but not correctly tightened. Mr. Kaj Lindström submitted to the Stewards the data from car No. 17, showing that during the first 13.5 seconds the car was moving slowly.

“The video evidence from car No. 17 shows that after the tyre change on SS2, whilst the driver had fastened the safety belts soon after he had started to drive, the co- driver did not have the safety belts properly fastened.

“At the beginning the car was moving slowly for approximately 13 seconds and the co-driver managed to buckle the safety belts but afterwards, while the driver had started to drive faster, the co-driver was still tightening the safety belts for a certain time and was trying to position the FHR device correctly under the safety belts.

“The co-driver managed to fasten the safety belts correctly approximately 34 seconds after the car was in motion from the tyre change location and until the end of the stage. Furthermore, the co-driver had tried to position the FHR device correctly under the FHR belts.”

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville ended Friday leading the rally by 5.7s from Toyota’s Elfyn Evans.

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