ACI Rally Monza leader Dani Sordo and second-placed Esapekka Lappi were both hit with late-night time penalties on Friday that left the top three drivers blanketed by 2.0sec.
Stewards of the Italian finale to the FIA World Rally Championship season handed both drivers a 10sec penalty for cutting the same chicane during the opening leg’s final PZero Grand Prix speed test on the Monza circuit.
The stewards’ decision said both ‘did not follow the road book instruction’ at the chicane 2.05km after the start of the stage – a breach of the regulations.
In separate hearings the stewards examined video evidence and heard from Hyundai Motorsport’s Alain Penasse and M-Sport Ford team principal Rich Millener.
In relation to Sordo, the stewards’ statement said: “The driver of car No.6 locked wheels on the approach to the chicane in an attempt to stop, was confused as the chicane differed from that of a previous special stage. He saw that there was no bale in front of him and went straight on.”
Concerning Lappi, the stewards said: “The driver of car 4 locked their wheels on the approach to the chicane and made an effort to stop. The team representatives stated that the driver decided to take what he felt was the safest option by going straight on, striking the hay bale in the process.”
With the penalties applied, Sordo retains his 1.0sec advantage over Lappi, but third-placed Sébastien Ogier is only a further second back.