The event stewards have penalised Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz by 10 minutes for an action that they deemed to be dangerous during SS07. Team Peugeot has announced its intention to appeal the decision, which the team does not understand and considers to be without foundation. Competitor #254, riding a quad bike, made a complaint about the crew of Sainz/Cruz, who he considered behaved dangerously at kilometer 184 of SS07.
As a result of this complaint, Carlos Sainz was asked to appear before the stewards on Monday 15 January in Salta (Argentina). Having noted the complaint, he contested the allegation that there was any contact with the competitor, pointing out instead that his reaction managed to avoid a collision that would have been extremely serious, given the speeds involved. A few hours later, the Dakar Rally stewards handed an arbitrary penalty of 10 minutes to the crew. Team Peugeot subsequently announced its intention to appeal the decision, which it feels is unjustified and unfair.
"I’m very upset by this decision," said Carlos Sainz. "The version of events described by the quad bike rider doesn’t match up to the reality. In fact, my actions meant that we avoided an accident. I’m sorry for what happened to him, but what occurred was that I came up to him and set off the Sentinel. He pulled over to one side and looked at me. There was plenty of space, although the road was very muddy. He then lost control and came back onto the line. I swerved to avoid him, and although it was close, there was no contact between us. He finished 12th on the stage in the end. If we had hit each other, of course I would have stopped. I absolutely don’t agree with this decision."
"The decision is incomprehensible," said Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin. "There’s nothing concrete in the folder, and it’s just somebody’s word against another. As far as we’re concerned, it’s quite clear that there was no contact between the quad and the car. If it had really happened as the quad rider claims, unfortunately he may not have been around anymore to talk about it, given the speed of the car."
"All our data backs up Carlos’s version of events, who has always behaved impeccably. The rider who claims his quad was damaged finished 12th on the stage and then 10th on the next one, which was the second half of the marathon stage. This 10-minute penalty is completely arbitrary. The stewards are punishing Carlos for not having stopped, yet there was no impact. Furthermore, even if Carlos’s behaviour was deserving of punishment, this should have come in the form of a fine rather than a time penalty – arrived at in an arbitrary fashion – which affects the running of the race."
"So, of course, we’ve notified our intention to appeal. As a result, it’s likely that we won’t know who the winner of the 2018 Dakar is on Saturday in Cordoba. Leaving aside the whole principle of the matter, leading by 1h06m is a very different proposition to leading by 56 minutes, given the challenging nature of the stages to come over the next few days."
Photo: Peugeot Team
SHARE THIS ARTICLE