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WRC points leader Ogier fined for Rally Spain traffic offence

World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier has been fined for a traffic related offence and for failing to stop when told to by local police at Rally Spain. 

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Toyota Racing

The Toyota driver overtook a vehicle while using the hard shoulder during a road section on the way to Saturday’s final stage on the streets of Salou. The incident was a breach of FIA Sporting Code Article 34.3.1 which states drivers must obey local traffic laws. 

On Sunday FIA stewards fined Ogier €2000 for his actions which comes after a €200 fine for wearing his balaclava outside of his race suit on Friday.

A stewards report states: “The crew of car No1 overtook a car driving in front of them on a road section using the hard shoulder on the right-hand side on Saturday at 17:22. They also did not stop when being shown to do so by the police officer at the incident site.

“The driver was fined by the police for the two infringements.” 

During a stewards hearing on Sunday prior to the final loop of stages, an officials report says Ogier admitted to the offence.

 “At the roundabout where the incident had happened the road was blocked by the police. He admitted having overtaken the car in front of him on the right-hand side and he apologised for this lapse," read the report.

“Nevertheless, he stated that he had not understood the hand signs made by the police officer because the officer was not in front of the car queue and very often such signs are made to help the rally cars drive through the traffic jam. 

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

“Furthermore, he added that he drove through the roundabout at low speed.”

This is the latest in a series of incidents for the Frenchman after picking up an €800 fine and a one minute penalty for failing to fasten his crash helmet correctly last time out in Finland. It also follows a €7000 fine and a six-month suspended ban for a collision with a vehicle in Croatia in April.

While this latest offence falls within the six month period since the Croatia incident, Ogier has escaped further sanction due to “mitigating circumstances”. 

A further police report required by the FIA stated that signs shown to Ogier at the incident “may not have been clear as the officer was not placed directly on the deriving line of the car”.

As result a stewards report states: “Mr Ogier was already penalised during this season for a similar offence. However, the Stewards, having considered the mitigating circumstances surrounding the case, concurred the the above penalty [€2000 fine] was consistent and appropriate.”

Having avoided a sporting penalty, Ogier finished Rally Spain in fourth position, behind rally winner Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Toyota teammate and title rival Elfyn Evans.

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