PROKOP WITHDRAWS FROM WRC DAVID EVANS
GROUP RALLYING EDITOR “Insanity was around every corner at TT”
Former Junior World Rally champion Martin Prokop has withdrawn from this year’s WRC following what he feels was an unfair five-minute penalty during last week’s Rally Italy.
Prokop started the event with the penalty applied after the scrutineers discovered a broken seal on the gearbox of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. With only a limited number of transmissions, Prokop’s Jipocar Czech National Team had opened the gearbox to make repairs with what they thought was the blessing of the FIA.
Team manager Quirin Muller told MN: “We did exactly this in Portugal and we didn’t get any penalty. It’s unfair. This destroyed Martin’s race. They could suspend the penalty, but not like this. We are a private team, we’re not fighting for the podium. This showed us that privateers are not needed in this championship.”
Prokop added: “All we needed was a conversation [with the FIA]. I have some other projects and this has changed my mind a little bit, I don’t want to be here anymore. So I will work on the Dakar car: we will do some more testing and then I try to do a cross-country event at the end of August to get ready.”
FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen admitted the case had raised the need for change. He said: “I understand the competitor and their frustration. This case confirms my personal view that we cannot have the same policy for the privateers and manufacturers. We will revisit the restrictions like the system of links for next year.”