Friday 22 July 2022

Rally - Fines & Penalties

Regarding Ott Tanak's 4,000 Euro fine by the FIA Stewards at the conclusion of Rally Estonia, there are two schools of thought. Some reckon it was a bit heavy handed while others thought it was well deserved.

Whatever, it reminded me of the heavy handed response to the 'Jock Armstrong incident' five years ago by our own national sporting authority. If you recall, Jock 'mooned' at a fellow competitor (and friend) and was adjudged to have brought the sport into disrepute and was fined £1000 and banned from competing for six months.

That incident was followed up by the 'Quintin Milne affair' a year later when Q was fined £5000 and banned from all motorsport competition for 10 years for being found in a forest with an unauthorised vehicle - in this case with a bunch of mates on off-road motor cycles. Admittedly the Forestry Commission at the time was none too chuffed, hence the draconian response.

These decisions predated the arrival of  Hugh Chambers (current MS UK Chief Executive Officer) and Dave Richards (Chair of MS UK) although the furore at the time may have contributed to the departure of the previous incumbent of the CEO position.

What incensed many at the time was the use of the phrase "to make an example of" which implied that these penalties were rather more excessive than the activities deserved. Whatever it's past history now.

Anyway, I was reminded of all that when Tank incurred a hefty fine for not wearing a Pirelli branded cap at the finish ceremonies and final media briefing. He claimed it had been soaked with champagne, but the Stewards produced before and after video footage which contradicted Tanak's claims!

Apparently he has past history, having done it before in Spain last year, hence the hefty fine although the sum of 3000 Euros has been suspended and he 'only' has to pay 1000!

The wearing of such caps is actually written into the FIA WRC rules so there is no excuse and since the sport needs all the sponsorship support it can get, then they have to be enforced.

However, it raised the question, is there another reason Tanak didn't wear the caps at his home event or back in Spain?  But no-one asked it!

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