GROUP RAL­LY­ING ED­I­TOR “In­san­ity was around ev­ery cor­ner at TT”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­ World RX re­port from Hell, p23

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.”

Bro­ken gear­box seal led to ‘un­fair’ penalty

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